IND vs ENG: 4th Test, The Oval
Ravindra Jadeja was promoted up the order when India lost its third wicket in the form of Pujara. Meanwhile, this leads to Rahane coming down the order. Rahane hasn’t played at a position lower than 5 in his career. So, this might either create problems for Rahane or if Kohli and Jadeja set a good platform, maybe Rahane can come in, attack, and score quick runs.
Whether this move of promoting Jadeja up the order is a long-term move or just for this tour? That’s a question to which we will find answers based on Jadeja’s performance. All we can hope is that Jadeja scores run here, tons of runs, plays his natural game, and thereby, makes the work of the out-of-form duo of Rahane and Pant easier. Many still feel that Ashwin should have played this test. However, India is by far ahead of England in this match, in the current situation right now. So, the team should focus on maximizing the opportunities that they have now. Since India’s batting line-up is always considered more important. And India will find no better conditions in England to bat on than The Oval. So if India wins this test, they would just have to defend the 5th test at Manchester. They will have a more defensive strategy then, and perhaps Pujara can play his usual game taking the time in that match.
Virat can have the last laugh tomorrow over his selections for this match. Since all the critics and experts have criticized him for this match’s team combination. However, both the changes that were made have flourished in this match. Shardul Thakur took India to a respectable score. Umesh Yadav got early wickets, including the wicket of England captain Joe Root who is in red hot form.
What Rahane can change in his approach in this innings
Let’s face it. Rahane has been struggling on this whole tour. He has just one fifty to his name and a succession of low scores. Maybe Rahane can take some inspiration from Pujara. Yesterday, Pujara brought out the cut shot from his armor. And boy, did he dominate the English bowling line-up. Pujara was successful in bringing India to a winning situation, to a situation where India can pose a huge target on the hosts. And he did all that with his counter-attacking approach.
Given the situation where the game is, if Rahane can get a quick 40-45, that would be tactically a very smart move. That contribution can end up being very valuable to the team in pressuring the England batting department.
So, maybe, Rahane should look at his teammate, who himself was struggling in the series, then changed his batting approach, became more attacking, and succeeded. If Rahane can take this lesson from Pujara, perhaps then, all the critics will be silenced once again and won’t point fingers at him.