5 worries for Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team -- catching, injuries, openers | cricket | Hindustan Times
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5 worries for Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team -- catching, injuries, openers

Team India drubbed England 4-0 in the five-match Test series but not everything was fine for Virat Kohli’s side. Is the team really perfect to battle all conditions?

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2016 20:02 IST
India cricket team celebrates after winning the Test series against England during the fifth day of the fifth Test match in Chennai, on Tuesday.
India cricket team celebrates after winning the Test series against England during the fifth day of the fifth Test match in Chennai, on Tuesday. (AP)

Happy times are here for Indian cricket. Virat Kohli’s team has thrashed England 4-0 in the recently concluded five-Test series, taking sweet revenge for their defeats in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Virat Kohli is yet to lose a Test at home and he has won five consecutive series as captain. India have ended 2016 undefeated and everything is pointing towards a magnificent future.

However, India were far from perfect in the series. The scoreline does not reflect the problem areas that Kohli’s team encountered in the series. With India slated to play five more Tests in three months, India have to pull their socks up in some areas. Here is a look at some of the concerns.

Dropped catches hurt both India and England

The Anthony D’Mello Trophy should have been named the Dropped Catches trophy. This series witnessed plenty of dropped catches from both teams. India dropped four in the opening Test in Rajkot, England dropped a couple in Vizag.

KL Rahul puts down a difficult chance at short leg off Keaton Jennings during the fifth Test in Chennai on Tuesday (AP)

Both teams continued to spill catches throughout the series. However, England dropped Karun Nair in the Chennai Test in the 70s and he went on to score a triple century. The fact that the only area England and India matched up was in the dropped catches department should worry Kohli.

Musical chairs around the openers

This series witnessed musical chairs among Indian openers. Gautam Gambhir, who was drafted in the playing XI after an injury to Shikhar Dhawan, failed in the Rajkot Test. In Vizag, he was replaced by Lokesh Rahul. After a poor start for Rahul and an injury, Parthiv Patel was drafted in as makeshift opener for Mohali and Mumbai.

KL Rahul and Parthiv Patel opened the innings for of India in the Chennai Test. (BCCI)

Vijay’s injury in Chennai prompted Rahul to open the innings with Patel, making it four different opening combinations in five Tests. The musical chairs around the openers will make Kohli slightly worried over top-order stability.

Ajinkya Rahane’s form

Until the end of the New Zealand series, Ajinkya Rahane was India’s premier middle order batsman. Having scored 188 in the Indore Test against New Zealand, Rahane looked set to inflict more pain on England. However, he suffered a dip in form by registering scores of just 13,1,23,26 and 0. Along with poor batting, Rahane also dropped some vital catches in the three matches. Having missed the Mumbai and Chennai Test due to injuries, his place in the squad is suddenly under scrutiny with Karun Nair having scored a maiden triple century.

Injuries

The injuries to Rahul and Hardik Pandya before the start of the Mohali Test raised a major concern for India: How healthy is the team? With Mohammed Shami, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also breaking down due to injuries, Team India physio Patrick Farhart was stretched to his limits in the series. With India playing more Tests in the coming months, India will have to devise a solid plan to manage injuries in the team

Playing for too long in home conditions

India have enjoyed an unbeaten run in Tests in 2016. They have won four consecutive series at home. Kohli and his team have got accustomed to home comforts. However, the challenge for India will emerge in the 2018/19 season, where they will have tours to England and Australia. Having played at home for close to two years, there is concern whether India under Kohli will perform in tougher conditions overseas.