All is not lost for India in the series yet, they have gone downhill after Lord’s, but I am a firm believer that it takes one afternoon to turn things around and the biggest challenge for MS Dhoni and the team management will be to create a sense of belief in the dressing room.
Belief is an amazing thing in life, it has made ordinary players become better and more than team meetings and sessions in the nets, what India need is a massive mental uplift. It’s a young team and back-to-back losses can hurt the confidence of players, and to get it back will be the biggest challenge.
How to go
The question is how do India play this Test? Do they go in with five bowlers or bring in that extra batsman? They did that in Southampton but changed it in Manchester. If I were Dhoni, I would stick to that formula here as well. It’s a must-win game and it doesn’t matter if they lose 2-1 or 3-1, they will have to go all out for a win here. If they manage to that, the back-to-back heavy defeats will be forgotten and it will be a series to remember for all.
What the players must remember is that very rarely in a five-Test series will one side dominate the entire series and such situations, the one India find themselves in now, will arise and the team will have to find a way to address that.
It is about living in the present, and England can find themselves in a hole if India bat well in the first innings.
Coming back to the team combination, the question which could be asked is won’t Ravindra Jadeja be a gamble? For me, India have to take the gamble.
Jadeja is a batsman first, has scored tons of runs at the domestic level, but somehow is not backing his ability as a batsman at the Test level. He will be amazed what one solid knock can do and he should be working hard to achieve that.
The team management will also be hoping that Ishant Sharma gets fit. The word is that he might play and this could be good news for India. The only thing that worries me about a fast bowler returning from injury is that did he bowl in a match situation?
Nerves are very important at the Test level and injuries keep coming back once the body and mind are under pressure to perform. Hope Ishant can solve this problem as India need him back.