India has been one of the top-performing teams in Test cricket. The Indian cricket team has experienced considerable success in recent years. Under the leadership of Virat Kohli, India achieved significant milestones, including reaching the top ranking in Test cricket. They have also registered notable Test series victories against prominent teams like Australia, England, and South Africa.
India's strong performance can be attributed to several factors, including the emergence of talented players, a balanced team composition, an effective bowling attack, and a solid batting line-up. The team has demonstrated resilience and adaptability, especially during overseas tours, which were historically challenging for Indian teams.
India's recent performance
However, in recent times, team India has witnessed a major decline in their performance when it comes to the red-ball format. Virat Kohli resigned from the captaincy and the responsibilities were handed over to Rohit Sharma but the team has not witnessed any bigger change in the outcome. Team India is still a strong team on their home pitch but when it comes to the foreign grounds, the struggles of Indian players are not coming to an end.
Historically, Indian teams have found it challenging to adapt to the different conditions encountered during overseas tours. Conditions like pace-friendly pitches, swing and seam movement, and unfamiliar weather can pose difficulties for Indian batsmen and bowlers who are more accustomed to playing in subcontinent conditions. The shocking part is, even after so many years and having such a huge talent pool, team India is facing the same struggle and the result of the WTC Final match at the Oval is the result is the best example of the same.
India reached the second edition of the World Test Championship and they witnessed another loss. The way India played the final game, it seems like Indian players and team management were not prepared for the final fixture. In the past as well, it has been witnessed that team India has lost some crucial Test fixtures easily.
What is Wrong With Team India in red-ball format?
Like any cricket team, India has experienced periods of inconsistency in performance. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including changes in team composition, injuries to key players, lack of form, or mental pressure. Inconsistent team performances can lead to struggles in Test cricket. It has been observed that BCCI and the selection committee have played musical chairs with the selection of the players in the red-ball format. Even if the selection of players has gone right, the playing XI has gone wrong and the same was witnessed in the final game at the Oval as R. Ashwin was not selected to start the game.
Another primary reason for Team India’s poor performance in Test cricket is the tight schedule of the players. To play the longest format of the game, an individual needs a mindset and a few days of preparation. However, Indian players are not getting it because they are constantly playing limited-over international cricket or Indian Premier League.
How Can the Quality of the Red-Ball format be Improved for the Next WTC Cycle?
One of the biggest concerns for Team India in the longest format of the game has been the missing depth in the bowling department. Jasprit Bumrah’s injury has created a major void in the bowling and the whole pressure has come on Mohammad Shami. Even though Shami has done a brilliant job but the whole team can’t be dependent on him. BCCI and the selection committee need to find a solution to the same.
In certain situations, India's batting line-up has experienced collapses, where several wickets fall in quick succession. Such collapses can be detrimental to the team's overall performance and lead to challenging situations in Test matches. BCCI needs to have separate players for the Test format who can play longer innings and build solid partnerships in front of any team and on any pitch.
Team India has definitely not given up on the Test format because red ball is the core of Indian cricket but the team management needs to take some actions for the next season of WTC.