Why 'seaming' troubles could keep Team India on the edge in South Africa
Indian batsmen have struggled every time they are exposed to seaming conditions.
- Total Shares
A flick off the wrists from MS Dhoni, and Team India capped off its most successful year with a victory against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium. A year that started with a series win against England in ODIs under Virat Kohli finished with a whitewash against Sri Lanka in the T20Is.
Certainly, there were many highs and relatively fewer lows for the team that seems to have improved leaps and bounds in the last year and year-and-a-half.
Having ruled the home season - there were series wins in West Indies and Sri Lanka also, the Indian team, under Virat Kohli, will now begin a journey during which they will play most of their cricket overseas over the next one-and-a-half years, beginning with South Africa from the first week of January.
There have been many positives in the last one year but then there have been a few deficiencies as well. The most prominent of those is how the Indian batsmen have struggled every time they are exposed to seaming conditions.
The last T20I against Sri Lanka in Mumbai was the latest in a series of instances when the Indian batsmen have found the going tough with the ball moving around, something that they are expected to come across more often on South African pitches.
The Indian batsmen did manage to chase down the modest 136-run target in Mumbai in the final over, but still it was another reality check for the batsmen who have struggled on surfaces like the one at Wankhede in the recent past.
For once, one could have easily dismissed it as an aberration but then when it happens a few more times, it comes out as something that needs some attention.
The Guwahati T20I against Australia in October, the first innings (172 all-out) of Kolkata Test against Sri Lanka and the Dharamsala ODI again against the Lankans (India all-out for 112) are a few cases in point in the recent past where India have struggled against the moving ball on tracks that also have a fair bit of bounce.
To be fair to the Indians, every batsmen in the world will and does struggle in conditions where the ball is seaming around. It's just that how and for how long one can negotiate the new ball to let things settle down and then get on with your game, which seems to be an issue for the Indian batsmen as of now.
The Indian team's success has had a lot to do with the kind of starts their top three-four have provided but every time openers have walked off cheaply, the team has struggled both in Tests and the limited-over versions.
If the relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan attack can cause tremors in this famed Indian batting line-up, the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada can cause much more damage.
Team India will fly out to South Africa in the early hours of December 28 and play their first Test against the Proteas on January 5. Thankfully for India, the series opener is in Cape Town, which is considered to have low bounce and doesn't seam around that much compared to the other venues in South Africa.
So the batsmen will have just over a week to adjust to the bounce on the South African pitches before the tour opener at Newlands. However, the hallmark of this Indian team is its ability to comeback stronger each time there's a setback.
Now that this team has the confidence and form by their side, it's just a matter of how quickly they adjust to the conditions. The balance of this side does make one feel that India could well win their maiden Test series in the Rainbow Nation.