India's misery in England has come to an end and India lost against England in all formats of the game. This is the same team which was no.1 2 months ago and won the ODI world cup 2011 in April. So how can the players forget to play well in a month or 2? Here are the main reasons why India lost in England and that too so badly.
Injuries- India were rocked with 9-10 injuries on this England tour and that is one of the main reasons why India lost. India's top choice players Zaheer, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag, Praveen, Ishant, Harbhajan, Rohit all got injured and left India with a second or a third string team to face England even worse than the one which faced West Indies in June. India did not have openers, middle order batsmen were injured and their main bowlers were limping. turn by turn in tests, T20 and ODI's players kept getting injured leaving India with lesser and lesser top players. How could we then expect them to beat a top class English side. Add to that India's bad luck Why so many injuries happened are very much connected with the next reason.
Hectic Schedule- Many people disagree on this saying players all over the world have to cope with this or they could have taken rest anytime but that is easier said than done. In December-February, India were busy in the grueling tour to South Africa where they did well. Then 15 days later the biggest mental and physical challenge came in the form of the ODI world cup and that too at home. The 40 day extravaganza took heavy toll on most of the players mind and body. They won it by the way. After that happened the cruelest thing to them. They did not get any TIME to CELEBRATE the hard earned victory as 5 days later their IPL contracts came to life with another 45 days of non stop cricket expected from them. I am not gonna get into the country-club debate right now but IPL was really tiresome for the players. Result- Most of the players picked up minor niggles here and there. Though many took rest during the West indies tour, it was not enough as they had to gear up for another big test against a very strong England side.
Below Par Bench Strength- In the middle of so many injuries, time had come for India's bench strength to be tested. And they reacted awfully. Replacements for injured players gave unsatisfactory performance as it came to everyone's notice that India lacks apt replacements. Sehwag's replacement was Mukund who could not manage much more than a fifty. As Gambhir got Injured, there was no spare opener so Dravid(India's best batsman on tour) had to sacrifice his no. 3 position for the opening slot. One spot in the middle order was uncertain and both Yuvraj and Raina could not do justice to it. Pujara did well in that spot in South Africa but he was injured too. And bowlers were pathetic. India could not find a replacement for Zaheer Khan throughout the tour and can't still. If they could have played a decent bowler in place of Zaheer in Trent Bridge test, the result might have been different. Harbhajan was replaced by Mishra who did nothing better than giving easy runs to English batsmen. In ODI's absence of Praveen Kumar brought in Vinay Kumar who also disappointed. And one question remained unanswered. Why was Varon Aaron given just a single chance?
Zaheer- Well thats another big reason why India lost both the tests and the one dayers. Zaheer played the first test and bowled 14 overs and even picked up the English openers' wickets but then limped off the field and did not come back in the whole tour. If he would have been there India could have challenged England in the first 2 tests atleats. India did take wickets but let England off with the old ball again and again. Zaheer would definitely had posed problems with the old ball if he was present. In the ODI's too India required Zaheer badly many a times but there was no one who could fill his boots. India's ascent to the number one slot in tests and the World cup victory cannot be imagined without Zaheer. So how could India win this time without him against a strong side like England. India needs to preserve him as he is getting older and also need to find an apt replacement for him as soon as possible.