There is no shame in losing to a better team. After being comprehensively outgunned by England, Indian fans are hoping that this set of players will learn from their mistakes and bounce back under similar conditions during the 2019 World Cup.
Before the start of the five-Test series, there were expectations that the Indian squad would defy history and geography to put one over the home side. What was needed was a fair selection, good form and a bit of luck. In the end, Team India had suffered an extremely bad 1-4 defeat against a side which was hardly any better than the tourists.
It all started with Virat Kohli’s questionable decision to drop Cheteshwar Pujara in the first Test, which proved to be crucial in the ultimate analysis, especially as the margin of defeat in two of the four Tests that India lost were very close. Hence, questions are now being asked about Kohli’s captaincy and the tactics that he used against an English side which did show signs of crumbling under pressure.
At a personal level, Kohli conquered nerves, pitches and Anderson as a batsman to score 593 runs in his 10 innings. The two fronts where he failed was in picking his XIs and placing fields when cornered by Buttler, Curran or late orders. Another occasion where Kohli failed to read the wet pitch was at the Lord’s second Test.
The Indian skipper chose to go with two spinners, R Ashwin and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, despite the fact that conditions were conducive for seam and swing. Despite all the negatives, for the first time since the retirement of golden generation (Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly), Team India has demonstrated that it has the ability to compete in overseas conditions.
India’s record on foreign soil has been dismal. The pacers — Shami, Bumrah and Ishant — who form the nucleus of this side can still be around for some time. They were spot on 9 out of 10 times, taking all 20 wickets in a game.
Going forward, MSK Prasad-led wise men of Indian cricket must pick batsmen in home series against West Indies who have the potential to get runs overseas, especially on bouncy Australian tracks. The idea should be to get an adequate amount of runs. For example, there are players like Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill along with the now-tested Hanuma Vihari who should be used tactically to build a team for overseas contests.