Having seen India perform poorly with the bat right throughout the series in England, former Test opener Aakash Chopra has said that barring captain Virat Kohli, the other Indian batsmen have gone down and not up with their games from the last overseas cycle in 2014-15.
Aakash cited the example of India's last tour to England in 2014 and said that there are two things that can be gauged out from the current defeat. One, that India is now consistently taking the 20 wickets unlike then and the other, dreadful one, that the techniques and overall games of the Indian batsmen other than Kohli, who is exceptional in many ways, have gone a level down and not up.
Aakash wrote in his column for Hindustan Times that, “There are two ways of looking at the series loss in England. One: You could take heart in the fact that India ran England really close in all the Tests except the one at Lord’s. India lost all the four tosses and competed on equal terms for the majority of every Test match but failed to close the tight moment that defined the result."
"Two: You can look back at the tour of South Africa and draw parallels, and perhaps, learn some valuable lessons. India had their moments there also but just like this tour, they couldn’t cross the finish line there. India might not have been outplayed in most of the games, there’s no place to hide from the fact that India lost both the series," he added, "While sticking with the first narrative will give hope and keep the flock upbeat, it won’t really initiate progress. After all, India drew a Test in South Africa and won a Test in England in 2014 too. Since those were the first tours to these places for most of these players, you could understand the results."
Chopra also said that India performed nothing like the way a no.1 side in the world is supposed to and seemed to have not learnt much from the earlier failures leading upto England.
"On this tour, India travelled as the Number 1 Test side in the ICC Test rankings and the current strength, or the lack of it, of their opponents had presented a realistic possibility of winning a series. That’s why it’s prudent to spend more time on the second narrative, for that’ll put the team on the path of improvement." he wrote and added, "Players, especially the batsmen, tend to get better with age and experience but it hasn’t really reflected in this year’s overseas performances thus far. Kohli is the only batsman who’s managed to upgrade his skills significantly, for the rest seemed to have either regressed or stagnated,"
“In 2014, opening the innings was a problem and unfortunately, it continues to be a problem in 2018. In fact, it’s become a bigger worry with Vijay no longer a part of the Indian Test team. Rahul hasn’t scored a fifty in the last 12 overseas innings and Dhawan’s returns aren’t too dissimilar, for he hasn’t crossed the fifty run mark in his last 8 overseas innings."
While the batsmen disappointed, it is the Indian fast bowling attack, who's progression, Aakash seems most satisfied with.
In conclusion, Aakash reiterated the improvement on the bowling front and wrote, "If there’s a quantifiable improvement, it’s in the Indian bowling department, for they’ve dismissed the opposition twice in six out of the seven overseas Tests in 2018. While taking 20 wickets is essential to win Tests, that alone isn’t always enough, for India have lost four of the six Tests in which their bowlers took 20 wickets without conceding a mountain of runs."
"On this English tour, they managed to remove the English top order without much damage but invariably, the lower order continued to be a thorn in the flesh. They say that removing the tail is an art and, perhaps, that’s their next challenge,"