India Tour of England: Former Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels Team India should invest more in middle-order options in Test. While India have multiple options for each position in limited-overs cricket, in Test cricket, the number shrinks rapidly. As things stand, Hanuma Vihari is the only likely option for middle-order while KL Rahul has played only one innings in that position. Hence, he believes Virat Kohli & Ravi Shastri should look into options such as Karun Nair for that position which ultimately cost India the match on Day 2 of WTC Final against New Zealand.
“Vihari has been a good investment because of his fine contributions in the past. More recently, it was his solid effort in Sydney (2021) in drawing that Test. He is a very capable batsman but one player who is in the queue for the middle order could be Karun Nair because of his Test match record and also his overall first-class numbers. Karun had one or two average Test matches and he was sidelined,” Sanjay Bangar told Cricket.com.
India Tour of England: The fact that KL Rahul has played only one innings in the middle-order and five at No 3 scored only 91 runs in those two positions combined. The bulk of runs has come when he opened the innings, 1915 runs at an average of 36.83 in 54 innings. Hanuma Vihari has not been got many opportunities, thanks to India’s two-spinner choice. Karun Nair too has been sidelined since India’s last tour of England.
It was India’s middle-order collapse in the WTC Final on Day 2 that turned things around for New Zealand. “I feel that the turning point was how we batted on Day 2 of the Test match. We were in a great position on day one after being asked to bat. Credit to the New Zealand bowlers especially Kyle Jamieson who bowled really well,” Sanjay Bangar said.
“They (New Zealand) put up a plan and created a lot of pressure. If the Indian batting unit has to look back, they will say that for sixty overs in the first innings they played well but at least 275 was required. From 145/3 and when the ball was old, getting bowled out for 217 was crucial.” said Bangar.
Sanjay Bangar, currently serving as the batting coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, was optimistic of Ajinkya Rahane putting up a strong show with the bat in the upcoming Test series against England.
“Ajinkya has always performed when India has won a Test abroad but even he would like to have himself a big series (with complete dominance), something which has eluded him so far in his career. He has been a keen student, a very motivated player besides a thinker of the game. And, I hope in future he can score heavily in an entire series and things can get better from there for him,” Sanjay Bangar said.
-With inputs from IANS