India tour of New Zealand 2013-14

India's batsmen proving to be fast learners

In spite of their inexperience, India's young batsmen are displaying a capability to adapt and cope with tough situations, as the Tests in Johannesburg and Auckland have shown

Abhishek Purohit

February 11, 2014

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

Shikhar Dhawan whips into the leg side, New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 4th day, February 9, 2014
On their tours of South Africa and New Zealand, the young Indian batting line-up has shown potential to set up matches with big totals in the future © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: India tour of New Zealand
Teams: India

India made 366 in their second innings in Auckland. It was only the seventh time they had made more than 350 in the fourth innings of a Test outside India. The last time was at Lord's in 2002, helped by a surprising century from No 8 Ajit Agarkar. Before 2002, it was in 1979 at The Oval. Which means that in the time Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were part of the side, India needed an Agarkar hundred to make more than 350 in the last innings of an away Test.

The four batsmen came together in 1996, and three of them were in the team until the Australia tour of 2012. In that period, India were set 350-plus to win 18 times away from home. They didn't win a single game, and drew six. The first time they were handed such a target in that duration, by South Africa in Durban in 1996, they crashed to 66 all out in 34.1 overs. The second time, in Cape Town, they managed 144.

This is in no way to belittle the efforts of the previous generation, but the statistics illustrate how difficult it is to score so many runs batting last in a Test, something even batsmen of the caliber of the four former Indian batsmen could not do. The efforts from the South African tour of 1996-97 also show how collectively fallible the batsmen, now considered great, were in their early days.

Perhaps the numbers will also help us appreciate what the current set of young Indian batsmen did in Auckland. Not only did they come back from a poor first innings, they crucially told us that the promise they had shown in South Africa a few weeks back could be built upon.

In part because of the deeds of the batsmen preceding them, the current lot will be measured against high standards. Indian cricket has also entered an age where the expectations from fans are generally elevated. But instead of looking at their failure to break the run of 13 overseas Tests without a win, they should be afforded considerable leeway based on their potential, which has been abundantly on display on their first two tours together, especially in Johannesburg and Auckland.

India's top six batsmen have a collective experience of 77 Tests. MS Dhoni alone has played 82. At both Wanderers and Eden Park, first visits to the countries for most of them, they came back from an average first-innings performance. Both times, there were hundreds from the top-order and support from the middle-order.

Also building upon the promise is the exposure they have got on these early tours. The Wanderers match will go down in history as one of the most thrilling draws. The Auckland one was a rollercoaster over days three and four - to concede 503, then get bowled out for 202, then come back to roll over the opposition for 105 and finally, bat so well that at one stage, you had a good chance of chasing down 400-plus, something that has been done only four times ever before.

 
 
The current Indian batsmen are on a steep learning curve, and they are not sliding down the slope at the moment.
 

The current Indian batsmen are on a steep learning curve, and they are not sliding down the slope at the moment. In years to come, the learning will hopefully show. They might in time develop enough to start setting up matches overseas with big totals, as the earlier set did often. India may or may not have the bowling resources to utilise the pressure these totals create, but for now, it is assuring for the side to know that they have a group of batsmen who are picking up things fast. After the Auckland Test was lost by 40 runs, Dhoni hoped his batsmen had come out having absorbed the importance of driving home the advantage when they could. India were 222 for 2, when Virat Kohli threw his bat at a short and wide one to end a century partnership and allow New Zealand back into the game.

"Capitalise. It is a very easy thing to say in one word but a lot of thinking and experience goes behind it. They must be learning out of it," Dhoni said. "Games like these, even if you play one game, it gives you the experience of three-four Test matches, where you start respecting. You start looking ahead into the game. It is a game that goes on for five days, so you start thinking, if we get this partnership going, what needs to be done at the end of the third day maybe.

"Of course, you need to break it down and take it session by session. But it is also important to look ahead as to what needs to be done, what will happen to the wicket, whether it will dry down, whether it will assist the spinners or not. These are the kind of learnings you get out of these games. Hopefully there will be plenty in our dressing room who must have learned a lot out of it."

Wellington might turn out to be better or worse than Durban was. However, there will be no taking away from the potential of Johannesburg and Auckland.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2014, 5:54 GMT)

Indian betting line up is very good but in bowling they are very poor. If india bowling click in t20 and Asia cup they can easily for the same

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

Virat Kohli is doing fairly well but not consistent, Shikhar Dhawan seems to have adapted of late. Rohit Sharma is not able to crack a big score but is doing ok. I would say the rest are not really doing well enough. They are not being wiped out but they haven't gotten on top of the challenge yet either.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

India's Strategy of playing 7 bastman and 4 Bowlers in Overseas condition is totally wrong. First of all, bowling is weak link for India and we further deplete it by only taking 4 bowlers. How are we going to take 20 Wickets ? Mind you these is not India, where spinner can run though the side. Also in first test, we went with 8 batsman to be precise ( Jadeja has 3 Triple tons in domestic Cricket).. so i am not sure, whether our batting is our strength or bowling.. and with 8 batsmen in our side also, we could not chase 400 runs. It is high time, dhoni should be dropped as captain. he does not know how to win test match in foreign condition to be harsh to him...There is sterner test coming ahead in 2014 what with tough tour of England and Australia.. Better India learn fast, else it will be same old story.. of india been beaten 4-0, 5-0,2-0 again and again... Is selector or board listening ? or they are not bothered ? only wants to make money for themselves ?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 9:26 GMT)

Hahahaha, fast learners my foot. Ranked No.1 (previously) in ODIs & 2nd in Tests are struggling to win a single match in last 11 Intl. MATCHES :P :v

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 6:46 GMT)

Why did MSD turn a 5 wicket in hand 100 run chase to a T20? There were good chances to win the test if suddenly Jadeja did not try to hit every ball outside the boundary.

Posted by Maui3 on (February 13, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

@Anand, "Dravid and Ganguly were not match winner?" Ganguly yes, but Dravid? Did you even follow Test cricket from 2000-2006? Dravid won more matches from India outside India than any other Indian batsman ever did. Headingly 148, Adeilade 231, Rawalpindi 270, Kingston twin 50s in a low scoring game. What color is the sky in your world?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

The potential for this young Indian team, batsmen and bowlers, is not discouraging. The bowlers showed what is achievable if they are disciplined and catches don't go abegging. The batsmen showed that if they focus and don't lose concentration (I am looking at you Virat Kohli) they are capable of keeping abreast of the best in international cricket. One hopes that with experience the team will get a lot more consistent. One fears that the huge payoffs in the IPL will distract from the dedication and discipline that are still needed. And, has M.S. Dhoni been uncharacteristically distracted during the New Zealand tour? That would seem to be the explanation for a certain lack of focus on the part of the entire team.

Posted by prof_aks on (February 13, 2014, 4:44 GMT)

Prof Aks From the bowling of India in IInd innings of NZ (105), I got a blink in confidence, can we repeat the same and toil for 20 Wkts and batting is not so bad if we have limited target (300). 400+ is a daunting task for any team, even NZ couyld not chase this task at their home..Be positive and hope for V this time

Posted by rajuramki on (February 13, 2014, 4:20 GMT)

Most of India's recent test losses are mainly due to the lack of the bowler's ability to take wickets .Stray performances will win a game here and there but it is the bowlers who can set up test matches. In this regard. Indian bowlers are way behind their opponents when they play abroad . Batsmen cannot always provide the cushion of 400+ scores in every match , for the bowlers to have some security .

Posted by Kashi0127 on (February 13, 2014, 4:11 GMT)

From what I can understand regarding the formation of associations and bards, the BCCI in a sense is not really representing the country but a private body. Can the Karnataka team (with Vinay as captain) with so many talented players tour countries representing alternate India. Probably they could notch up more wins than the current Dhoni outfit.

Posted by stonk on (February 13, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

Oh yes they are such fast learners that they lost 4-0 to England and 4-0 to Australia not forgetting 1-0 to South Africa and trail NEW Zealand 1-0. All this in the recent past. So sure they learn fast.

Posted by TheTrueView on (February 13, 2014, 2:21 GMT)

A nation of billion people has never won a test series against a nation of 24 million people in the latter's country i.e India Vs Aus. Even if it changes at some distant future, which don't see how, what reason does India have for their past failures? Very few will of course accept the simple analysis of lack of physical stamina, mental strength, faith and positive mind. 5 day game is not India's cup of tea or rather chai I should say.

Posted by Nampally on (February 12, 2014, 19:34 GMT)

@Imran Haider: The writer is merely stating the facts. Young batsmen are fast learners. As the saying goes: You can't teach Old Dog New Tricks! This really applies here. Younger guys can adapt to the conditions much faster especially when they have the right technique. As far you comment about making the green pitches even greener, Please do not forget Shami is fastest of all the bowlers on either side. So "greener" wkts. might tumble NZ for a total < that they got in the second innings of the First test. Indian team has good batting line up too. Hopefully they will fire to its potential with disciplined batting in the Second Test. Indian record is so poor in overseas Tests is because of lack of Leadership. The Indian Fans know that Dhoni is a fine batsman but he does not have the credential to Captain India in Tests for sure as also in ODI's. Until the BCCI stops backing Dhoni, the Selectors are powerless to replace him. It is a politically controlled World, my friend!

Posted by rhtdm302 on (February 12, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

It is the batting which fails all the time, if batsmen can do well as they did in the second innings of the first test they can win, the bowlers have got it in them to bowl NZ out cheaply...........

Posted by Nampally on (February 12, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

Typically a batsman with sound defence & technique always succeeds whether it is his first year or not. Take the best example of Sunil Gavaskar at the age 20 touring WI with the Indian team scoring about 775 runs in the Test series as a debutant with an average of nearly 200! Pujara played first full Test series against England in India & averaged over 100. These 2 batsmen are examples of Technique & defence used in a disciplined manner. India has lot of talent amongst its top 5 batsmen. They need to channel it correctly with patience. India need to make 2 major changes in their approach: 1. Ignore all short pitched balls which cannot be hit safely 2. Let the balls outside the off stump well alone especially from the LH seamers slanting across the batsmen. NZ bowlers will be focussing mainly on just these 2 points as they did in the first Test. If India counter these, 500 total is assured. In bowling, Shami + 3 more seamers + Jadeja are needed. MSD Do Not make the same mistakes again!

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 12:01 GMT)

wonderful and insightful article. this elucidates that the previous 'fab four' were very much over rated. this has convinced my belief that the current generation of indian batsmen play more fearless cricket than the stars they replaced. I don't know why ppl go gaga over players like dravid, ganguly who were not match winners. they could at best save a match. I know I may be ruffling few feathers but truth really bites.

Posted by cornered_again on (February 12, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

No matter how fast Indian batsman learn to bat, it is their bowling which will stop them to be anything decent abroad..... Even with Sachin, Dravid , Laxman , Ganguly , Sehwag who were absolute batting geniuses, India has never been able to win anything abroad.. They never won in Aus, SA and even won one series in Eng with only a margin of 1-0 . Compare that with Pakistan who always have exceptional bowlers and they have been amazing abroad. They absolutely bossed England in England through out 90's winning in 87 , 92, 96 consecutively and also matched legendary Aus and west Indian teams of 80's... Bowlers make you win and sadly that is how it is in cricket especially the test format

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

Amazing how writers dig out and create something to keep the fans interested in the team who has the worst record of away games. Yes, Abhishek we will try and get some hope out of your article and watch the next game. By the way they are making it as greener as possible according to the recent news. Sure these fast learners will be tested yet again.... Lets wait and see :)

Posted by VSC011 on (February 12, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

can anyone explain me why MS Dhoni is in our test squad???? before replying please check his statistics of last 12 test matches played in Australia, England, South Africa and now in New zealand..... only two questions from my side..... 1st whether he should be the skipper of Test team? (India lost 11 out of 12 test matches, worst record of captaincy) 2nd thing does he deserve the place in test squad??? (please check all his innings played at overseas (outside sub continent) in last 7 years, hasnt played a single exceptional knock)

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

Let us be fair, it was the bowling and brilliant fielding that brought India back into the game. The current situation reminds me to some extent of the Pakistan teams of the 1970s where a vaunted batting line up failed to capitalise on underrated bowlers's successes: Leeds 1971, Melbourne 1972-73, Sydney 1972-73 and many, many more (e.g.Zaheer Abbas' average in the 4th innings was only 24.42) and yet we were always lamenting lack of quality bowlers.

Posted by blthndr on (February 12, 2014, 7:30 GMT)

If U see the last three test match scores.....Highest scorers for each innings

SA 1st test------Kohli & Pujara

SA 2nd test-----Vijay & Rahane

Nz 1st Test-----Rohit & Dhawan

For a starter its a good sign for this new test team......They hav potential just need to built partnerships.....

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 5:46 GMT)

Good article but u r wrong on "India may or may not have the bowling resources to utilise the pressure these totals create"...........................India surely does not have the bowling resources to utilise the pressure these totals create as we saw in 1st test vs SA how easily India gave away the huge adv & didn't go for the kill

Posted by US_Indian on (February 12, 2014, 4:48 GMT)

@ Al_Bundy1- A very big thank you. We the public, media, corporates , the marketing guru's who all go gaga over a batsman's good and not so good performance but never ever appreciate our bowlers especially our captain MSD who at every opportune moment bashes up his bowlers. If you have read Martin Crowe's comment on what brought India back into the game and how graciously and magnanimously he gave that credit to young Shami which eventually led other bowlers followed. captain also got abit aggressive because he tasted the blood I mean that they could be bundled out and the result was for everyone to see. If the batsmen have applied themselves a bit more the result could have even been positive. Even Zak said that this was perhaps the best pace bowling performance he had seen in his 15 years career but alas our commentators, writers and everyone will never see and if you notice india is only country where bowlers don't get maximum MOM and that;s why we fail to produce fast bowlers.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

Suddenly India proved that the only strength they have is on their home soil. They lost the ODI series to NZ and are about to loose the test too. Time to bring new blood in.

Posted by wake_up_india on (February 12, 2014, 3:54 GMT)

The problem is that they are learning on the job, which no employer likes. They should have picked up these skills when they were much younger, playing on fast wickets that don't exist in their home country. In the past, their predecessors learned some of these skills playing county cricket, which does not make economic sense any longer with the advent of IPL. So this pattern of batsmen making double centuries at home and floundering like maids at new jobs will continue for now. Pathetic!

Posted by   on (February 12, 2014, 3:20 GMT)

'96 - Donald, Pollock, Mc Millan and Klusener '13 - Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis

I think the '13 attack is quite close to the '96 one.

Plus, the author isn't merely singling out one performance of the previous batting line - up. It was over a period of more than a decade that is quite a fair sample size.

And the "fab 4" batted in the era after that of "marshal, holding, garner, roberts, lillee, thompson, imran khan, hadlee, bob willis, botham, etc." But we still give them credit b'coz they were able to string together credible performances and achieve positive results in comparison to the earlier set of players.

Similarly, this current lot has shown promise of a better future by standing up to the barrage of pace bowling offered by south africa.

Posted by kohli_ponnaya on (February 12, 2014, 2:36 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta: it seems a little silly to call an overhyped article an "excellent job". India is sorely lacking international class players at the moment with only Pujara showing the required mettle. The attitude of the players is also perhaps the worst in cricket today. Have they learnt anything at all from the likes of Sachin & Dravid??

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (February 12, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

How the hell fast learner? Haven't won any match yet.

Posted by afaridi on (February 12, 2014, 1:04 GMT)

Only thing I want to say that we're they playing test match or limited over game. Every one of them was in hurry as they want to finish the game quickly. None of them shown discipline required to play a test match.

Posted by Modipalli on (February 12, 2014, 0:16 GMT)

I totally agree with the article .new india team have huge potential especially with the help of genius captain.nz odi series was also very close excerpt last one day.we were almost there. If we had little mode help from openers ,we would have won the series. For India to be champion again ,we need better opening duo performance.especially from Rohit sharma. For sure he has to work on rotating strike and single to become greatest batsman. Big shots are good ,but singles and rotating strike is more important . Not taking singles not only creates pressure on himself ,but also on the partner. I think that's what happened in NZ ODI SERIES. Otherwise , over potential has been so transparent .

Posted by Batmanindallas on (February 11, 2014, 23:19 GMT)

Herath-Uk You know in the end world as we know is going to vanish into black hole. Dont be a sour puss-India has the money join the bandwagon or be left behind. Cricket has changed it was thought to be end of the world when one dayers came into being or Packer series happened or 20-20, now it is IPL. The game will survive and yes it will evolve.

Posted by SevereCritic on (February 11, 2014, 22:37 GMT)

And this is why India rarely produces good bowlers. When was the last time Indian bowlers got an opposition out so cheaply while playing away from home?Despite all their bowling heroics, it is the batsmen who get all the praises. This would have been a good time to praise the bowling unit for a spirited performance and a spectacular fielding performance to boost them up for future tests. Instead Indian journalist focuses praise on an already overrated batting side.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 11, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

If our batsmen did well in the 2nd innings, what about our bowlers?? They were phenomenal in the 2nd innings. I have never heard of an Indian bowling unit getting the opposing team out for a score around 100. It's the bowlers who brought us back into the game. Without the stupendous achievement of our bowlers in the 2nd innings, we could have lost by 400 runs. Granted they didn't do well in the first innings, but neither did our batsmen. If our fielders had held on to catches in the first innings, NZ would have been out for less than 300 in the first innings.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (February 11, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

Our guys put up a good show. We should appreciate that. Chasing 400+ is no mean task. Our batsmen did very well and fell short by only 40 runs. That is tremendous performance. Also we should not forget that our players fought back their way in to the game after being behind by more than 300 runs.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

I have never commented before but after reading the comments i can say we INDIAN can never praise any good work done by team india, rest alone other teams.

Posted by Dysan25 on (February 11, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

@vrkp bottomline is, they went into T20 mode which was unnecessary considering they had so much time left .. Dhoni is yet to realize that the One-day & T20 gamble works only when there are fixed number of overs and not just fixed number of runs .. The way Dhoni curbs his instincts initially for One-dayers, why can't he (and Jadeja) do that in a 5-day game ? .. How can someone even play a 5-day game if they have issues with their defense ? .. that's a pretty lame excuse for a 5-day game ..

Posted by Nampally on (February 11, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

Mr. Purohit, as long as the New batsmen play with Discipline & Patience, they have enough talent to get centuries. If you take the latest NZ Test from Auckland, there were lot of examples - Pujara in the first innings & Kohli in the second innings were the best examples of discipline going awry. These are the top class batsmen in the world & both played the worst shots at a time when discipline & patience were the top priorities. Dhawan gets out in similar manner. But when he keeps his head down he is worth a century! Although Dhoni justified Jadeja's wild out in the second innings, it was again lack of discipline. After hitting one ball for 4 or 6, give it a break & wait for the bad ball instead of hitting the next ball again. This is lack of discipline. Indian team is way better than NZ side but they do not play with discipline. This is why India keeps losing. When the bowlers bowl with intensity at the right spots backed by good fielding, India can look like #1 Team in the world!

Posted by Temuzin on (February 11, 2014, 15:55 GMT)

Well written Abhishek. I hope your this article will provide some sense in to zealot Indian fans who cant expect anything except a total win. Keep writing such article to teach fans what should they appreciate in a game played between two teams having 11 players each. Give credit where it is due.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

To compare this auckland pitch with 1996 durban pitch is absolute rubbish. The pitch in durban is quickest i have ever seen. I agree that this young team showing lot of promise, but you can not compare two generations. The state of pitches and attack changes. there is no comparison of this NZ attack with donand, pollock of 1996. Similarly there is no comparison of this batting lineup with Sachin, dravid, ganguly, Laxman.

Posted by vrkp on (February 11, 2014, 13:57 GMT)

@dysan25

What Jad & MSD did was correct. Mainly bcos they don't have any solid defense technique. If they tried to play defensively, they wouldn't have (esp. Jad) survived more than 20 balls plus wudn't have scored more than single digit.

At least this way there was a good chance of pulling it off. Jad's only fault is he shouldn't have attempted to hit every ball out of the park. Having just hit a six, he could have taken few singles.

I think the thinking process is correct but only thing is they didn't execute it smartly.

Posted by vrkp on (February 11, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz

Pace alone is not going to help. It is the line and length which will fetch wickets. History has plenty of examples of it. Lee Vs McGrath is one very good example. Out of the two, you know who is most difficult bowler to bat against. Same between Vaas Vs D Fernando.

In the first test vs NZ, except for Shami, none of the other bowlers from both sides were bowling more than 135K consistently. What NZ did correctly was to bowl the correct line and length. when our bowlers did that in the 2nd innings we saw the result.

Even if you look at most of the leading pace bowlers playing currently, there are hardly hand full of bowlers who bowls >140K 4 out of 6 balls. Most of them are bowling in 130s only and some times they go over 137K.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

@Abhishek Purohit:

You did an excellent job, to put things in perspective. We see good signs of developing a great batting unit. Perhaps as good as, or even better than the legendary "Fab Four". We fans have to show some patience.

In bowling, we perhaps may have the raw materials; but the nucleus has yet to be formed. We can not depend on Zak, who is getting to a stage, when the fast bowlers usually retire. It is high time, to really test out a few more options, in addition to Bhuvi & Shami. Who knows, there may be even better ones than Bhuvi & Shami. Pandey needs a few more chances.

And, for all rounders,Rishi Dhawan is a better bet than Stuart Binny. Try him. Even Roger Binny in the Selection Committee, at a rational level, might agree.

Ideally, we should have a fast bowling all rounder. But, where are the FAST bowlers? Especially with some batting prowess. Don't say Irfan. He seems to be getting injured so often. And, also seems to be losing his 'mojo'. What a shame

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

Though I'm no cricket expert, I have followed the game especially the tests for the last 13 odd years. It wouldn't be out of place to mention the pitches around the world have changed drastically in the last 4-5 years. Either you get rank turners that start deteriorating from Day 1 or flat decks that stay firm even on Day 4 and 5. Add to that, the ease with which modern day batsman play test match bowling.

So a comparision along eras on the fourth innings scores must not be based on numbers alone. Factors like the state of the pitch & quality of the bowling unit also need to be considered.

Posted by Dysan25 on (February 11, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

The dismissal of Jadeja due to his counter-attack undid the efforts of others. Really didn't understand why Dhoni defended it. Losing by 40 runs in a Test Match with a Whole Day left shows what mindset they were in.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 13:16 GMT)

I am willing to bet and say take Dhoni out of this test team, you will see more positive results. For 10 tortourous years, he is done nothing, yes nothing to prove he deserves a place in the side as a batsman or a keeper. And forget his captaincy. A man who has played 82 tests, the most senior player of India cannot stand up in one test overseas and atleast be the best player in a losing cause(like Dhawan was). When has he? It baffles me how Mr Purohit here, the media, former commentators and everyone talks about every other player apart from the biggest reason for India's failure, our own captain, Mr Dhoni.

Posted by HadesLogic on (February 11, 2014, 13:14 GMT)

Not to belittle the current crop but we are comparing them with an era in which the pitches did more and most teams had really good bowlers (Donald, Pollock, Ntini, McGrath, Warne, Murali, Bond, W's, Akhtar, Vaas etc.). Another oft overlooked factor is the steady increase in 'acceptable' run rate over the years which has more to do with lesser risk aversion than mindset or ability. Let's not pass judgement on the guys based on apple-orange comparisons. Good performance does not need historical benchmarks

Posted by samincolumbia on (February 11, 2014, 13:13 GMT)

@Herath - Just as the sun rises from the east, SL will never beat India in India! You are just mouthing sour grapes all the time.

Posted by GreenBouncySpin on (February 11, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

This might be India's 10th defeat in last 11 away tests. But we have to look beyond just the number of away defeats. This is a team with very young players. We may not have results to show that this team is better than the one which lost 0-8 against England and Australia. But believe me - this is far better, at least in the batting and fielding. The tests we lost to England and Australia were all one sided. India never was in any of those games and was beaten fair and square. But this new Indian team has shown lot of fight in SA and now. We must be patient and give some time for this young blood to become match winners. However I do agree that there is no ray of hope with our bowling as long as we continue to not look beyond ZK & I Sharma. We found Shami - he's a gem. We should start investing heavily into B Kumar, U Yadav, V Aaron & I Pandey. They should be trusted and given long hauls. And for all away tests (barring SL and BAN) we should have 4 seamers in the playing XI.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (February 11, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

NZ is a weak team and India should have beaten them comprehensively. Making a close match and loss of it is humiliating.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 11, 2014, 12:19 GMT)

India's batting looks to be improving and it's a pretty young lot too. Unfortunately they're still not going to win overseas much unless India stop wanting 2 medium pace swing bowlers and swap one for a quick who is genuinely quick, who either gets a bit of swing or a bit of seam movement, preferably both obviously.

If a pitch doesn't spin much and India are in the middle overs of an innings where the ball isn't swinging, their only bowling option is Ishant. He has no partners, nobody can tie down the other end, they literally have nothing. A 130kph bowler who is getting no swing or seam movement is the definition of toothless, and don't get me started on Ashwin and Jadeja overseas. Even if Ishant bowled out of his skin it would make no difference, a batsman would just play his overs defensively then attack the other end.

I can't help but feel the Indian batsmen would do a lot better if they didn't have to chase down 400+ to win a match.

Posted by Herath-UK on (February 11, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

I think with time ind fans will get a sort of frustration winning matches hands down with the changes that happened; boards will be begging for bilateral series with ind just for financial gains ,rankings will not have a damn meaning because bcci can manipulate any no series as they wish to up their team rankings (no standard no of tours for each test playing country as now)players & umpires will not like to upset the applecart of the bcci so why you make a fight of it, quite sensible, isn't it, all human.

Posted by giri201282 on (February 11, 2014, 11:37 GMT)

I think overall in tests both batting and bowling has been decent. In SA the bowling got us the first innings lead when that was the last thing that was expected out of this bowling group. Again in this test Bowling got Newzeland all out for 105 giving us a semblance of a chance which the batting almost capitalized upon. Shami and Zak have been pretty decent. Its Ishant who is Up and Down(mostly down) and the role of the spinner abroad which is a concern. I believe in current situation it is best handled by jadeja who understands his role is primarily hold-up one end and try get one or two wickets when playing abroad. Batting order is quite set. its the bowling which requires some chopping and changing. May be a chance to amit mishra for tests may be a option. The one-dayers has been a different ball game altogether as the bowlers have been just not been able to adapt to the 4 men in the circle rule and are getting thrashed all over.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 11, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

We as Indians always look at the BATTING. The dropped catches in the NZ 1st innings let them get away. That was a winning total to put up. The bowling was also poor. The question to ask is "why is it so many foreign batsman score big versus India?" Bowling and fielding is our weakness. To have NZ 3 down in no time was good. What followed was a release of pressure.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

Even when the big 3 or 4 were there, India's record was not that great abroad. They scored runs, but still ended in losing more matches because India could not find quality bowlers to bowl the opposition out.

Posted by chapathishot on (February 11, 2014, 10:50 GMT)

Herath-UK:SL under 19s have come from a series against England at home and India have not played since the Asia cup and it is their first match.It is playing in the opposition country,Srilankans are also playing in IPL in India but could not win a SINGLE TEST in India who is more overrated and home bullies.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (February 11, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

@Herath-UK. SL players played @ IPL, SCL and BPL. Still they lost all matches to India and even to BD @ home. What are the excuses in it? Who is overrated by its on fans? At least we criticized non-performers of our team. What are you doing with your non-performing youngsters? You can win as much as practice matches. As per your excuses of loss in in CT13, our team were just 'practicing'. But when its the matter of real matches, we will win. Check the history.

Posted by DingDong420 on (February 11, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

The series against SA & NZ were always going to be about learning how to play away from home. They have been competitive in patches.

They should be more competitive in England & then AUS hopefully

That said Ishant should be nowhere near the test side

Posted by Herath-UK on (February 11, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

It is a shame to tell 'india's inexperienced batsmen' whereas they get the best exposure with the pull of bcci.Just yesterday Sri Lanka's under 19 beat the Indians in a warm up game where the indian players have had such experience with many bilateral tours instead of a few that the SLC could afford before. Indian players should have had played with these NZ guys many times in the IPL and NZ coaches in the IPL ,no other Asian country has such luxury. Therefore these indian players are in fact overrated more than they deserve.

Posted by Caveman. on (February 11, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

The current crop show promise. But the BCCI always stacks the odds against its own team by planning idiotic tours. Given how different the conditions are in SA and NZ, they should have planned for at least 3 practice games before the internationals and tests. Look at the Ashes - teams get enough practice before the tests. If they paying public are to get a good contest and see the players at their best, practice matches are vital.

Posted by rsr89 on (February 11, 2014, 9:33 GMT)

This new team lost 2 matches and drew one but fact of the matter is in SA the team dominated 7 days out of ten and still lost the series in two bad sessions, here in NZ despite being pushed on the edge they came back and lost the test by narrow margin, so it's just a matter of time where they need to capitalise on situations as MSD says and we'd win our oversease tours as well.

Posted by Sumeet.Gupta on (February 11, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

Absolutely!! Though we may keep cribbing about what could have been, it is pretty exciting times for us Indian 'test' fans. The transition has been pretty smooth, unlike Australia, and the young guns have shown temperament and technique to survive. The Wanderers test was the first test without the big 3 of our batting greats, viz. Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid and i would suggest that Kohli, Sharma and Pujara passed with flying colours. The need of the hour is to give them time and i am sure that the tours of England and Australia will give us the clear picture. To play Devil's advocate, Sharma and Rahane must seal those places at 5 and 6 and be more consistent. They have the talent and hunger. Only thing needed is bit more patience, both from them at the crease and from us fans in front of our TV sets! Now, if only i could say the same thing about our bowling :(

Posted by Asimaasi on (February 11, 2014, 9:08 GMT)

1. Indian team will bat first 2. No bowler can ball over 125 km/hr to indian batsmen 3. All batsmen will be one tip out except Indians 4. Only Indians can hit 4 or 6 for others it will be 3 and 5. 5 No team is allowed to score above 200 against india. 6 Indian batsmen will play first ball as try ball 7 All teams if not playing against india will be charged 50 % match fee 8 All umpires will be from india ( current panels of umpire may apply for nationality ) 9 England & Austrlian will be given two times food but no match fee when playing in India 10 Rest of the world players have to look for a new Job

Posted by T20Fun on (February 11, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

Nice article and totally agree with getting clouded with the 13 overseas winless tests. If we gave the seniors the benefit of doubt in the 8-0 then these youngsters deserve the same if not more. As has been stated in this article they have done excellently in their early big tests away. There are more coming this year and we can hope they get better. This is an exciting time for Indian cricket the defeats notwithstanding - the future looks bright.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (February 11, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

India needs to give bit more time to young Rahane, Dhavaan and murali vijay. Pujara and Kohli are best young test batsmen in the world compared some who unable to score even at road and against no:10 test team. Problem is with bowlers. Zaheer is too old to comeback to his form and Ishant is good in patches only. Shami is good. Need to give more chances to Umesh. I am sure the coming Engalnd tour will not be one-sided.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Very well written. This is exactly the point I have been making to my peers. That let this team learn. This is just the start of their careers. Even Dravid did not become 'The Wall' on his debut.

I would say that gradually, things would fall into place.

Most of this team was not a part of the 8-0 at the hands of England and Australia. That team had Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Gambhir. But this is an entirely new team. Totally inexperienced. Let them learn from their mistakes.

Dhoni, as articulate as ever, very correctly pointed out after the SA tour that we have all the right ingredients for a fantastic team.

Posted by krushi on (February 11, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

Even though india lost the tests in SA and NZ, its heartening to see the batsman showing the technique and temperament to succeed in foreign conditions. I believe this is the reason we are not getting humiliated which was the case in previous tours in Aus and Eng even with having great batsmen like sachin, dravid, viru and laxman. Hope the bowlers start contributing consistently and india again starts winning overseas.

Posted by ramli on (February 11, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

At last ... one positive report on Indian team amidst mostly pessimistic remarks by majority ... players need to be trusted and given time to learn ... some changes in bowling combinations should necessarily to be tried ... hopefully England tour will start seeing the team winning tests ...

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (February 11, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

Spot on Abhishek. I think the 0-10 scoreline is a lazy generalisation concocted to grab eyeballs. To impose the burden of the first 8 losses in 2011-12 on this side is unfair. The vast majority of the present players were either at the very beginning of their careers or not even in the side in 2011-12. Only 3 of them: Dhoni, Zaheer and Ishant have been part of the entire sequence.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

I know hater will point to not winning in last 11 matches, fair enough. But genuine cricket lovers will know that 8 of these defeats were from aging team. The way this young team competed in SA and in this match, this team is going to be team to watch out for. We still are very light on bowling, but Jadeja rather than Ashwin adds a lot overseas. Not only in spin bowling, but allround. Slowly he is getting his mojo with the batting too. In Shami, we have atleast one intentional quality bowler. Varun/Umesh in place of Ishant should give more teeth. Bhuvi is ready to takeover from Zaheer when he feel like going. Bowling still will not be able to blast opposition, but good enough to earn 20 wickets little hard way. One major thing which also need improvement is slip catching which make bowling look more poorer than it is.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2014, 8:23 GMT)

Indian batsmen still didn't learn enough.... they fall like a nine pin after the wicket of a set batsman..... with the score reading 324/6 and just 83 to get with 4 wickets remaining, all odds were favouring the Indian team. but what happened???? they capitulated quite dramatically....... this NZ attack is not too quick unlike the likes of Australian and the English...... there is still a long way to go....... cricinfo pls publish.....

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