India’s Bowling Struggle and Wicket Drought: Australia 2020

India are yet to take a powerplay wicket this series

Conceding 374 and 390 in the first two ODIs, the batsmen were left with unreasonable targets to chase.

The pitches have been flat, and India managed 300+ in both games, but a target in the high 300s is always tricky.

Flat pitches and lack of swing have badly affected the Indians as the bowlers struggled to impact.

The bowlers did not have an extra bowler’s cushion, which may have helped provide the side with more options.

The extra bowler is, however, an arguable issue.

An extra bowler is useful when a bowler goes on an off day, but if all the bowlers are carted for runs, an extra bowler isn’t much different.

While the Australian batsmen were brilliant in both games, India’s failures started in the innings’ initial phase.

The bowlers failed to take wickets in the first ten overs of both games, allowing the platform to be built for a launch.

Bumrah is one of the best bowlers globally, but bowling with the new ball is not his strongest suit.

He is a talented new-ball bowler, but with an older ball, Bumrah is magical.

With Saini not bowling as well, Bumrah is required to bowl more with the new ball, which has led to his struggles with the lack of swing.

On the other hand, Saini has been off his line and length and is easily picked by the batsmen.

His bowling has released the openers’ pressure, and in both games, Saini finished with costly figures.

Bumrah has also not been at his best, with his overs scattered across the innings.

He has not been able to get his Yorkers right and is also returning expensive figures.

With extra overs upfront, Bumrah is left with fewer overs to impact the death, where he is usually a beast.

With fewer overs and more wickets in hand, the opposition picks him off with ease and has been doing so well this season.

In particular, Maxwell has enjoyed facing Bumrah, which has been a massive spot of bother for India.

Of the three pacers, Shami has been relatively good.

Shami recently enjoyed a great IPL season where he has rediscovered himself as a limited-overs bowler.

During the 2019 World Cup, Shami did an excellent job, despite not playing all the games.

Shami is known for his wicket-taking ability, and in the first ODI, he has done his job well.

He picked up three wickets and was the only bowler with an economy under six.

Shami picked up crucial wickets and was quickly the best bowler.

Despite the right figures, Shami was taken for runs in the second half as India’s search for a wicket in the powerplay continued.

In the past, India had Bhuvneshwar Kumar to make an impact in the powerplay.

Chahal and Jadeja both struggled to bring India back into the game during the middle-overs


Shami and Bumrah are excellent bowlers, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar mostly took the new-ball wickets over the last two years.

The lack of swing may have negated Kumar, but he has proven on many occasions the ability to take wickets with accuracy and no swing.

While the lack of early wickets has hurt India, their bowling in the middle-overs has hurt them equally.

After the 2017 Champions Trophy, India introduced Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to provide some aggression in the middle-overs.

The two bowlers were very successful as India became one of the best sides before the 2019 World Cup.

As neither had decent abilities with the bat, the pair had to be broken to include Jadeja and deepen the batting line-up.

Breaking the duo may have disturbed a team’s rhythm in which the bowlers knew their roles well.

Ravindra Jadeja came in for Kuldeep Yadav and has done an excellent job this series with the ball.

He has bowled his overs quickly and economically but has not taken wickets.

While Jadeja can tie the batsmen up in the middle-overs, he may not be as aggressive as the wrist-spinners.

The lack of wickets from Jadeja may also be the reason behind Chahal’s ineffectiveness.

When Kuldeep and Chahal played, both hunted in pairs as they created openings and spread a web around the opposition.

With one creating the opening, the other leg-spinner targeted the new batsmen, and the two bowlers complemented each other well.

On most occasions, both spinners’ figures were identical, picking wickets despite a higher economy.

The two spinners took wickets on flat tracks, and playing just one may be why the other has been ineffective.

With Chahal not taking wickets, India has struggled to come back in the middle-overs as they have done so in the past.

Ravindra Jadeja been among the most economical but has not been among the wickets


The leg-spinner’s struggle has also resulted in Bumrah coming back for a spell in the middle-overs.

Bringing Bumrah for a spell in the middle may help the situation but affects India in the death overs as Bumrah has fewer overs.

With the spinners unable to create an opening after the powerplay, the job becomes more challenging for the death’s fast bowlers.

The fast bowlers are left to bowl to set batsmen who have the cushion of wickets in hand.

As a result, the bowlers are under pressure making the job easier for the batsmen.

To sum up, India has not picked up good wickets in either phase of the game.

The lack of powerplay wickets has not allowed the spinners to apply the squeeze on the batting side.

With the middle-overs not yielding many dismissals, India struggle in the death against the strong Australian batsmen.

A positive for India’s bowling could be the return of Pandya.

Pandya took the ball as India were struggling and bowled four tight overs.

He took the wicket of Steve Smith and showed the way with his cutters.

Along with Jadeja, Pandya was India’s most economical bowler, and Pandya’s return may just provide the side more options.

With the frontline bowlers likely to rest for the third ODI, bowlers like Thakur and Natarajan could get a go.

After seeing the current group of bowlers struggle, there may be a lot of curiosity about how the two new pacers do.

Shardul Thakur has played at the international level and is a bowler with suitable variations, while Natarajan made a name for himself due to his accurate yorker.

Both bowlers have the ability, but against the Australian batting line-up, it may be tough to see what they can offer.