Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said that it is a good idea to try four bowlers for the fifth test and provide an opportunity to play for Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari against England. Since India lost the fourth test and lost the series of five test matches against England, they can try four bowlers strategy and that it is an opportunity to start fresh and understand the conditions of England before the upcoming World cup. He suggested Kohli provide a chance for youngsters to prove themselves in the fifth test since they did outstanding performances for India A.
The fifth test at the Oval, London is about to begin today against England. India is trailing the series by 1-3 and won the single test match at Trent Bridge. Ganguly felt that it is the perfect opportunity to try young talents Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari.
Sourav led the Indian team for 49 test matches and won 21 of them. He felt that the fifth and final test is a good chance to provide understanding for youngsters about England conditions for the upcoming world cup.
Ganguly wrote to a column in Times of India that “The Oval is a different pitch; it will have a lot of bounce but it is important for Virat to assess how much rough will be created,”
“What Virat needs to have a look at is his team’s batting. It is important to have a change at the top and give Prithvi Shaw a go. He is young, not battle-scarred, and had a good India A tour of England. Both KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are not in the best of form and it will not be a bad idea to have a change at the top.”
“I am a big believer of playing five bowlers and the Indian bowling unit has been exceptional this series. However, maybe Virat can think about a four-bowler option to see how the bowling unit reacts to such situations and whether this could be a possibility in the future. A lot of good teams in world cricket have succeeded with this formula. It will also give Hanuma Vihari an opportunity. Good things have been said about him of late and this will also help to strengthen the squad’s batting depth,”
He further wrote that better bowling in one match doesn’t make the Indian team stronger and here the batting is the important department to be focused on. From this series, Moeen Ali took 9 wickets and Ashwin picked 3 wickets. But he opined that unless Ravichandran is unfit, Kohli should not drop him out of the team.
He added “It is common for everyone to find a reason for the loss, scrutinize the performance of individual players and create their own elevens, but it’s important for Virat to step aside and have a closer look himself, and I particularly mention the word ‘himself’, as to what the best possible eleven is. Yes, Moeen Ali bowled better than Ashwin in the fourth Test but that does not make Moeen ultimately a better bowler than Ashwin. It is important for Virat to ensure, first, that Ashwin is fully fit and then decide between him and Jadeja as to who the better option is,”
“India go into the fifth Test with the series already decided. Still, Virat and his boys have a lot to play for because 3-2 sounds better than 4-1 and India needs to fight for that. They had their moments in the three matches they lost, but I am sure they will understand that having moments and finishing things off are two different things.
The biggest challenge for Virat and his boys at The Oval will be to start afresh. They have nothing to lose: I know that’s easier said than done, but professional athletes have to find a way to do this. There has been a lot of criticism but that is part and parcel of professional sport and as athletes, it’s important to create a zone and re-assess yourself,” he concluded, backing up the sentiments of Captain Kohli about not playing the same team in tow consecutive tests. He said that loss by 3-2 is better than a loss by 4-1 and India needs to work more and play more in the fifth test and should build up a tough team for the upcoming world cup.