Despite centuries from opener Rohit Sharma and Vice-captain Virat Kohli, the visitors could not avoid a defeat as consistent poor bowling and a stunning batting collapse accounted for four consecutive losses for the visitors.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar has called for harsh steps in the setup of the struggling Indian cricket team in Australia, saying some of the players have not learnt from their past mistakes despite making the trip Down Under multiple times. Gavaskar was more critical of the bowlers who let the team down and said dropping star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the second game in a row made little sense.
"We have to take harsh step after the series is done. I am not calling for a complete overhaul but there are players who have not learnt from their past mistakes. There are players who have made 3-4 trips to Australia but they have not learnt from their mistakes. If we are looking at building a team for the 2019 World Cup, we need to blood some youngsters in," said a disappointed Gavaskar.
"Not playing Ashwin for the second game in a row was not a good decision. I feel the conditions in Canberra would have suited him. Some of other bowlers seem to be the same mistake over and over again," he added.
On the learning process the team management and captain M S Dhoni keeps talking about, Gavaskar said, "Well, every game is a learning experience but are the players learning from their mistakes? If not, then there is a problem. The series result is really disappointing”, adding that “India have all lost four matches from winning position”.
Throughout the series, India did post formidable scores, especially in the first three matches but squandered the runs due to some toothless bowling and failure to take wickets at regular intervals. However, in the last ODI, the fifth and final one, India tasted success against Australia with six-wicket win at the SCG. Chasing 331, Manish Pandey smashed an unbeaten 104, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan set the tone for the chase with a fluent stand. The Captain Dhoni, too, chipped in with a crucial knock towards the business end of the chase.
Post this series, which India had now lost 4-1, the focus should be on the corrective steps.The batting performance was good but certainly could have been much better, bowling was bad, expected but it should not continue in the same manner for long, fielding was also poor for the most part throughout the series. After this consolation win, it’d be worthwhile to focus on perhaps one of India’s biggest positive this series apart from the form of the top-order is certainly Manish Pandey’s innings at the SCG. Focusing on positives is important, as there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the Indian team, off late, especially in this tour.