'India have Rohit, Kohli, Gill but they need Stokes, Green or Marsh': Nasser Hussain on why India struggle overseas
In Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar, India have a combination of cricketers who are deadly in home conditions. But the same thing becomes their problem overseas.
India are a powerhouse at home in Test cricket. They are almost unbeatable. In the last years, they have won 32 out of their 42 Tests at home, lost only three - two to Australia and one to England - and drawn seven. Compare that to England, they have lost 20 out of their 68 Tests at home during the same period and drawn 10. Australia, on the other hand, have fared better with 36 wins out of their 51 at home but their win percentage is still way lower than India's. No other team come even remotely close to India's success at home in the last decade. World-class spinners on spin-friendly pitches are not the only reason behind this enviable success. The same spinners' ability to score runs lower down the order consistently is another major factor.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have not only bowled out the opposition at home but have also scored runs. Jadeja averages 42 with the bat in home Tests since August 2013. He has two centuries and 11 fifties during that period and many of those have come when India's chips were down. Ashwin, on the other hand, has an average of 25 with two centuries and six half-centuries. Add Axar Patel to that list of India's spin-bowling all-rounders in the last couple of years and they bat down till No.9 in Test cricket. Patel's useful contributions during the last Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia proved a major factor in the result going India's way.
Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar can't play together in overseas Tests
In Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar, India have a combination of cricketers who are deadly in home conditions. But the same thing becomes their problem overseas. They can't play them together. In fact, only one of the two gets the nod on most occasions and the effectiveness of their lower order goes away. None of their frontline pacers - Jasprti Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj - bat anywhere near to what Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar can.
"They (India) are brilliant at home... and the balance of their side at home is just wonderful. they've got those senior players and youngsters, and with the ball in India, those three all-rounders, and they are genuine all-rounders in India -- Axar (Patel), (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin. That, for me, is a really balanced side because then you've got a No.7 (in Test cricket)," Hussain said in the ICC Review.
India have struggled with their team combination in both of the World Test Championship finals. The lack of a proper seam-bowling all-rounder like a Stokes, Green or Marsh is what is set to trouble them even in the coming years.
"A cricketer India need at the moment is a (Ben) Stokes-type cricketer, a Cameron Green-type cricketer, a Mitchell Marsh-type cricketer, a batter at No.6 or No.7, away from home, that can bowl you 10 or 15 overs of genuine wicket-taking seam and swing, not a bowler who bats a bit, a batter who can give you 10 overs of seam bowling, and then that balance away from home makes them (India) formidable," Hussain said.
‘Hardik Pandya would have been ideal if he was fit’: Hussain
India did have their moment with Hardik Pandya when he used to play Test cricket but after he suffered a back injury, things have changed. His body won't be able to take the grinds of red-ball cricket.
"They've (India) got senior players like Rohit and obviously Virat and they are just world-class players and they've got youngsters coming in, like Shubman (Gill), who's going to be a superstar.
"It's away from home and the balance of the side and if they (India) can get a seam bowling all-rounder. Hardik (Pandya) would've been perfect if Hardik had stayed fit and continued that process," said Hussain. "If Jasprit (Bumrah) can come back as well, one of the great multi-format bowlers there is at the moment, if not the best, when fit.