Ind vs Ban: If India's batting doesn't improve, the scoreline may read 3-0
One loss can be brushed aside as a fluke, but two losses in a row is a cruel reminder of your current form and also, the form of your opponents. Bangladesh whitewashed Pakistan in their last bilateral series and is already 2-0 up in a three-match series against India — a team that's placed at No 2 in the ODI rankings.
A shocked Virat Kohli departs during the second ODI against Bangladesh on Sunday. Pic: AP/PTI
And if the Indian batting doesn't come back to its own in the last game, I won't be surprised to see the scoreline reading 3-0. Losses to Bangladesh will always hurt but the nature of these defeats must hurt a lot more.
India's batting is considered to be its strength but, unfortunately, that's been the cause of India's downfall in both the games. On both occasions Indians lost wickets in a cluster of two or three wickets and when that happens, you are doomed. In team meetings before every game the overriding theme for batting is to build partnerships and that can happen only if you stitch a partnership of at least 20-30 runs after the fall of every wicket.
While there will be times when you lose a couple of wickets in quick succession courtesy some good bowling but if it happens four times in two games then you have an issue to address. The other thing that surprised everyone was that most of the batsmen got out to identical balls in both games.
Mustafizur Rahman is an exciting talent but losing 11 wickets to him and most of them to his slower ones was a little hard to digest. I expected the Indian batsmen to decipher his slower ones in the second game but how wrong was I!
While Bangladesh's bowling unit offered a lot of options and quality, Indian bowling looked like a one-man attack. Only R Ashwin looked like the bowler who could force batsmen to commit mistakes and take wickets. The rest of the Indian bowling attack was found guilty of allowing the game to drift and completely bereft of ideas when the opposition went for the offensive.
The difference in quality was so palpable that if Dhoni were given the option to choose his bowling attack, he would've been happier to lead the Bangladeshi bowling attack with an addition of Ashwin.
While it's understandable that tiredness could be one of the reasons for India's poor showing, it would be criminal to believe that tiredness is the only reason. In any case, international cricket is like a non-stop treadmill. If you aren't a 100 per cent fit and raring to go, you must make way for someone else to jump on it.
As for Bangladesh, they've taken a giant leap in international cricket in the last four to five months. It's assuring to see that they've indeed come of age and will be a force at home henceforth. Their next challenge will be to covert this form into overseas results against better teams.