Team India is 0-2 down in the five-match Test series against England and the humiliating defeat at the Lord’s has just deflated the no. 1 ranked Test team to the core.
Team India was defeated by an innings and 159 runs in the second Test at Lord’s as they were bowled out for just 107 and 130 runs in the two innings of the second Test. The team, especially captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have come under severe criticism from all quarters. The BCCI, the CoA, former players and the fans have been disappointed with the way things have gone so far on the two away tours that India has been on in the year 2018.
India lost the Test series to South Africa 1-2 and now are 0-2 down against England. Though India came back to win the ODI and T20I series against South Africa; they lost the ODI series against England.
Much of the criticism has been directed towards the coach Ravi Shastri, as he was made chosen in the role under some tensed situation. The equation between former coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli deteriorated to such an extent, that Kumble resigned from the post before his contract ended.
Ravi Shastri was given the post after many other options were interviewed, but given his close relations to Virat Kohli, there was no doubt that he would become the head coach of the team. Since then, India has been winning at home, but their away record, outside Asia, has been abysmal so far.
Ravi Shastri is seen as the ‘yes man’ to Virat Kohli and various sources have criticized the BCCI for giving the duo so much of a free hand in running the team management. A number of debatable rules have been enforced in the selection of players, like the mandatory passing of yo-yo test, which has ruled out many in form players who failed to clear the test. Their form, their abilities, and other things were overlooked just for the one fitness test.
"If India loses the series, then he might have to eat his words and admit that conditions do make a lot of difference,” Harbhajan told Aaj Tak.
Shastri had emphatically announced that fitness will be the sole criteria for making it into the Indian team. He has always been talking big things before the tours and series, statements like “We have enough days to acclimatize in England and we are going to enjoy coffee,” were given in the press conference before the England tour.
BCCI has also shown displeasure with the way Shastri and Kohli have run the team. Sources have claimed that Shastri and Kohli’s argument of not having enough practice in South Africa was valid and this was rectified for the England tour, by keeping the limited overs series before the Test series, in order to give enough time to the team to get acclimatized to the conditions.
However, the lack of match practice before the Test series was evident, as the only four-day match against Essex was curtailed to three-day match on instructions of Kohli and Shastri.
“The CoA has already mentioned this to Ravi Shastri, that after having sent the team so much in advance, allowing adequate preparation time (in English conditions), this kind of performance from the top order is not encouraging at all,” sources said to Indian Express.
Even top order batsmen like Rahane and Vijay were sent early to the UK, as they were not a part of the limited overs team so that they could get used to the conditions early. However, both of them have not managed to show any guts against the England quick bowlers and Vijay even bagged a pair at Lord’s.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar also came down heavily on team management for not having enough practice matches in between international games and having too much of off time in between matches.
Shastri is seen as someone who does the talking before the series but has not come on record even once to answer the tough questions as the team is failing to perform in England. Not once has he come for a press conference and taken responsibility for the Lord’s debacle. Nor has he shared with the media and fans, things that he has done or is he is doing for the betterment of the struggling batsmen.
Only Virat Kohli has shown some control and counterattack against England bowlers, but with his lower back troubling him, Team India might be looking at playing the next Test without their best batsman and captain, with a batting order that has no clue how to play Anderson, Broad, and co.
Ravi Shastri was seen as a good thing to happen to Team India given his proximity to Virat Kohli and the equation the two share and people expected wins in Tests overseas, given that India plays the likes of South Africa, England, and Australia in 2018, a very important year for the no.1 ranked team.
But the results have been utterly disappointing and Ravi Shastri should face the music for the same.
Shastri, on the other hand, has always been in the background and has never seen at the forefront confronting the problems plaguing the team and its batting unit. He doesn’t have a defined role despite having the designation of being a head coach.
Shastri now has become a pariah for the Indian cricket team fans for him not involving himself in improving the team, or taking responsibility for the failures of the team and becoming answerable for his role in the team’s performance so far