India vs England 2014 - Geoffrey Boycott says ODI series no less a challenge for India | exclusiveGeoffrey Boycott

Boycott exclusive: ODI series no less a challenge for India

25 Aug 2014, 0847 hrs IST,  Geoffrey Boycott,  
Boycott exclusive: ODI series no less a challenge for India
Boycott feels Team India will find the ODIs as tough as the Tests against England.
Finally, Indian fans must be hoping for a turnaround in the shorter format after the massacre in the Test series, and from what we've been witnessing of late, it would be easy to declare that India are far more comfortable playing 50-50 or 20-over cricket. Well, I have my reservations.

Indian fans have usually tended to overlook or forgive a fiasco if it is followed by a triumph, and sport is all about winning and losing anyway, but if everyone associated with Indian cricket believes that India will turn the tide with the ODI series, they may not be entirely justified.

The only major limited-overs tournament India have won recently was the Champions Trophy last year, and really, their record away from home has not been great. I can't reel off the statistics right away, but I am pretty sure that if you were to look them up, you would see that India have lost more ODIs than they have won since the World Cup in 2011. And as I have said in the past, this is a team that is supposed to be preparing to retain the trophy, as defending champions. Right now, though, they need to find the batting and bowling depth to counter all kinds of playing conditions, because that's what seems to be catching them out every time.

I think it is Rahul Dravid who has said that a change of staff midway through any tour can be unsettling for the team, and he should know what he's talking about. The appointment of Ravi Shastri as a sort of overall supervisor must have its benefits, or else why would the BCCI take this step? However, I don't know what to say yet about the theory that including Indians in the support staff will benefit the team in ways in which the presence of foreigners won't. Given the global nature of our lives these days, we will have to wait and see if this turns out to be only a cosmetic change.

The trouble with most of these theories is that, how many of them will translate into success on the playing field? Let's face it, whatever anyone says off the field, India need a strong opening partnership, an efficient and balanced bowling attack, a consistent middle-order, and very sharp fielding. On current evidence, no matter how loudly people say that the Test series disaster can be explained away by a variety of factors (including a non-performing coach), India will be struggling as hard in the ODI series as they did in the Tests, and they only have these five games and a series in Australia before they are pitched into the World Cup frenzy.

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