The South African test

Today on the eve of the first test match against South Africa I bring to you the key factors which can shape the outcome of the test series. There are various conditions which have to fall in India’s favour in order to win the test series. Lets start with the most important one:

Performance of Tail-Enders: We have seen time and again against England as well as Australia how difficult it has been for the Indian team in clearing the tail-enders. The reason I see is more lack of seriousness than the luck factor. So the bowling attack will have to frame plans for the tail-enders too -which we often see are neglected and only plans against the star batsmen are formed- and get them out as quickly as possible.

Ishant and Ashwin will have to lead the front: The spearheads of Indian bowling right now are Ishant Sharma (in the pace department) and Ashwin (in the spin department). The have to dominate and try to win as many sessions as possible. Moreover the new ball will have to be effectively used by Ishant.

Beware of the turner pitches: I remember how avidly Dhoni had asked to prepare turner pitches when England had visited and how unexpectedly the plan had hit us back. Monty panesar became the hero and went on to become highest wicket taker of the tournament. Hence Kohli should learn form this incident and prepare plans to tackle Imran Tahir because he can be lethal at times.

Sort the batting order: The biggest problem which became a hindrance for India in winning the ODI series was The Batting Order dilemma. Dhoni was unable to solve it. Let’s see what Kohli does. Specifically for the Mohali test I would like to see Shikhar Dhawan dropped and Rohit-Vijay to open the batting, followed by Pujara and then two-down Rahane. Finally three-down Kohli. I know Kohli is not suitable so below the order but then, is there another option?

Kohli’s mindset: Dhoni at times was highly pragmatic. At times when the win was difficult (not impossible I say) he went to achieve a draw. His thinking was “If we are not winning, then also we are not losing” but look at Kohli he is a big risk-taker. Like the first test against Australia  in the Border-Gavaskar trophy at Adeliade India needed 364 to win on the last day and Kohli decided to go for a win. The whole batting order collapsed after he was out. Instead, had he chosen a calm approach we could have drawn the game.

Nevertheless India have to be positive throughout the series as it will become tough at times. I believe Kohli can pull this off and finally avenge the ODI series loss.What do you think??

(Image Courtesy: BCCI, Google)

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