Team India recently secured their first series win of the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle by defeating the West Indies 1-0 in a two-match series in the Caribbean.
While the visitors dominated the first Test, they faced more resistance in the second, and unfortunately, rain played spoilsport on Day 5, resulting in India dropping points for the first time in the new cycle.
Despite the series victory, there are three major concerns for Team India in Test cricket:
1) Wicket-keeper problem –
Rishabh Pant’s absence has created a void in the middle order. His aggressive batting and underrated glovework have been sorely missed. Various contenders, like KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan, have been given opportunities, but the issue remains unresolved.
Kishan showed promise with a maiden Test half-century, but he is yet to be tested against tougher opposition. Pant’s return remains uncertain, and if he doesn’t perform well, India will be left with an unpredictable option in Kishan.
2) Thin pace reserves –
India’s fast-bowling unit lacked depth in the absence of key players like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Umesh Yadav. While Mohammed Siraj performed admirably, other options like Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat couldn’t make significant impacts.
The debutant Mukesh Kumar was accurate but not threatening enough. The lack of quality pace reserves raises concerns for India’s bowling strength when the frontline pacers are unavailable.
3) Concerns over No. 3 and No. 5 positions –
India made bold decisions in their batting lineup, with Yashasvi Jaiswal opening the innings and Shubman Gill batting at No. 5.
Gill struggled to make an impact at this position, while Ajinkya Rahane’s performances at No. 5 were also underwhelming. Finding the right player for these crucial positions is crucial as they play a significant role in the team’s success.
Overall, Team India’s Test squad faces challenges with the wicket-keeper position, pace reserves, and uncertainties in the No. 3 and No. 5 batting positions. These issues need to be addressed and resolved before facing tougher contests against teams like South Africa and England.
The team management will need to make astute decisions and groom young talents to strengthen the squad for future challenges in the longest format of the game.