How does India compare with rest of the world? A SWOT Analysis

The five-match Test series between India and England is on in Hyderabad and after the first two days of the opening Test, one can safely say that the visitors’ are well and truly on their way of giving the Bazballers a reality check.

The five-match Test series between India and England is on in Hyderabad and after the first two days of the opening Test, one can safely say that the visitors’ are well and truly on their way of giving the Bazballers a reality check.

One can’t predict if England can come back into the series or India would steamroll them in the next four games at Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala. But it does tell one thing — India are again proving to be a hard and intimidating team to beat at home.

As teams have found out season after season, it is almost impossible to beat Indian on their home turf, especially given their high-quality and world-class spin attack and batters who know how to deal with the opposition and bowlers get runs.

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IANS looks at how the Indian Test team, who are back-to-back World Test Championships runners-up and currently ranked two in the ICC rankings, compares with the rest of the world:

Strength

K.L. Rahul and Yashasvi Jaiswal coming good in Test cricket has been a huge boon for India. Rahul has moved from being the opener to an adept middle-order batter, while Jaiswal with his ebullient and attacking style of batting, is turning out to be a once-in-a-generation talent for India.

The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, with Kuldeep Yadav on the bench, have been India’s biggest strength. Ashwin is currently leading the Test bowling rankings, with Jadeja at fifth place and fast-bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah at sixth place.

In terms of the all-rounders rankings, Jadeja, Ashwin and Axar are at first, second and fifth places, respectively. No other country boasts of all-rounders who are fine spinners, can decimate the opposition on their own and chip in with the bat to bail the team out of tricky scenarios.

Weakness

As compared to the other nations, the Indian batting is slowly moving towards a transition period, which means it would need time to become rock-solid. Shubman Gill is new to the number three spot in Test cricket and is yet to offer the solidity and dependability which Cheteshwar Pujara did for more than a decade for the team.

Shreyas Iyer is still needing time to get himself accustomed to the middle-order batting role, especially when the conditions are in favour of the bowlers. With Rishabh Pant still recovering from injury post the car accident in December 2022 and no word yet on how he would progress on return to the game, especially in terms of wicketkeeping, it is also a point of concern.

In Pant’s absence, Rahul, K.S. Bharat and Ishan Kishan have kept wickets in Tests. While Rahul kept wickets in South Africa, Bharat has been preferred at home due to his specialist role, though he is yet to score a Test fifty.

Kishan is on a mental health break and with Dhruv Jurel, Kumar Kushagra and Upendra Yadav in the wings, the question of unearthing an attacking wicketkeeper-batter, who can serve the team for long, is still a cause of concern.

Opportunity

The World Test Championships cycle is of two years, which means India can see this cycle as a building block for future cycles, as compared to others being more or less settled. India has been one of the better travelling Test teams at a time when sides are invincible at home, but they prove to be less competitive in overseas conditions.

It is a chance for the team to maintain the proud pattern and their bounce-back ability. Moreover, with India ‘A’ tours being organised by the BCCI, it means the next-gen players are aware of minor adjustments, mindset shift and being sorted in their set-up from an enviable talent pool.

Threat

The think-tank of Indian cricket has to plan really well to identify the next set of Test cricketers, in batting, bowling and wicket-keeping, and blood them in when the time is ripe to move towards the future, apart from strategising nicely for the home and overseas challenges.

Communication, clarity and emphasising the importance of playing Test cricket is important, especially with the cricketing calendar crammed with T20 franchise leagues riches and many players being lured by them.

(IANS)