India's Loss to Australia Highlights Need for More Attacking Batters in the Squad
Rishabh Pant's absence was felt during the Indore Test (Twitter)
The third Test match between India and Australia bore witness to a lacklustre display from the Indian batters, resulting in a crushing nine wicket defeat for the home team in Indore. The Australian spinners, in particular, displayed an outstanding performance, rendering the Indian batsmen helpless with their accurate bowling.
As a result, India were bowled out for meagre scores of 109 and 163 in the first and second innings, respectively, with Nathan Lyon emerging as the chief destroyer with 11 wickets, eight of which he claimed in the second innings.
The Indian batters seemed to have no answer to the Australian spinners' unrelenting attack, which emphasised the absence of the attacking wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant, who is renowned for his aggressive approach against spin bowlers and has often outplayed Lyon with his assertive stroke-play.
However, the southpaw's absence due to a severe injury sustained from a car accident in December left a void in the Indian batting line-up.
India's defeat against Australia has raised several concerns about their approach, leading many to question whether they missed an opportunity by not including the in-form attacking batsman, Sarfaraz Khan, in the squad as Pant's replacement.
The Mumbai-based batter has been knocking at the doors of Indian selection, showcasing exceptional performances in domestic cricket, and many were expecting Sarfaraz to receive his maiden India call-up for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors snubbed him once again, leading to an absence of a potentially game-changing player from the squad.
Sarfaraz is widely known for his aggressive style of batting and audacious stroke play, making him an ideal replacement for Pant, especially on turning pitches that he is accustomed to playing in domestic cricket.
Despite his sensational form on such surfaces, he was excluded from the squad, leading many to question the BCCI selectors' decision-making process. Therefore, it is apparent that the Rohit Sharma-led side missed a trick by not including Sarfaraz Khan in the squad. Had he been in the team, the Australian spin bowling attack would not have appeared as potent, as Sarfaraz has the ability to take on spinners, something that was absent from the approach of the other Indian batters, who played with a defensive mindset.
India's defeat against Australia in the third Test highlights the team's inability to tackle spin bowling effectively, emphasizing the need for more attacking batsmen in the squad. Sarfaraz's exclusion from the team had raised several eyebrows when the squad was announced, as his aggressive style of batting would have provided the team with the much-needed impetus and the ability to take on the opposition spinners.
Moreover, the absence of an attacking batter in the Indian batting line up was apparently felt during the Indore Test and only time will tell if the talented batter from Mumbai will get the deserved chance.
As the team gears up for the next Tes, they will need to address these concerns and formulate a more attacking strategy to combat the Australian spin attack effectively. The fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy will get underway on March 9 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.