India’s Bench Strength In All Formats Covers Spate Of Recent Injuries
India has been playing non-stop cricket for the last 12 months as test, ODI and T20 formats keep players on their toes. Throw in the 45-day window of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and you will find an exhausted bunch of Indian cricketers who are not prepared to take a break in fear of losing their place in the squad. This is why India bench strength has been very important as of late.
Players Who Have Been Injured Recently
The bowlers have been the ones who have been hit the most with injuries in the last 12 to 18 months. Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a serious back injury in 2018 and had to return from the England tour. He suffered a strained hamstring in the 2019 ICC World Cup and had to sit out for a few ODI games.
The 2019 ICC World Cup also saw Shikhar Dhawan miss most of the tournament after being hit by a bouncer that resulted in a broken finger. All-rounder Vijay Shankar also missed a number of World Cup games due to a toe injury. Hardik Pandya, the premier all-rounder in India, has been out of action for the last two months with a bad back. He underwent surgery in early October.
Jasprit Bumrah was expected to play in the test series against South Africa. However, he suffered a stress fracture to his back which ruled him out of the series. Wriddhiman Saha was the number one test wicket-keeper in the country. But he suffered a shoulder injury in 2018, which kept him out of action for over a year.
India Bench Strength Covers Injuries
When any team suffers so many injuries to their key players, it is bound to impact their performances. However, India has such strong bench strength in all formats of the game. Therefore, the impact of these injuries hasn’t really hurt India’s performance. The replacements have done well more often than not.
Credit must be given to the Indian selectors, management and coaches who worked hard to develop a core group of 20 to 25 players. These players can fit into all formats of the game quickly. This is very evident in the fast bowling group. Ishant Sharma, Bumrah, Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have a lot of experience playing in India and overseas.
The second string of fast bowlers includes Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Siddarth Kaul and Deepak Chahar. When it comes to the spin bowlers, India has the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. However, India have also groomed Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya.
The same can be said for the reserve batsmen as India have regularly introduced young players into the squad. This is so that they can be mentored by their seniors and also get exposure to international cricket. Mayank Agarwal has stepped up as a test opener after Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Dhawan lost their places. India also has a set of backup openers in Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill.
Succession Planning Working Out Well
We have seen teams like Australia and South Africa struggle in international cricket because they did not have a proper succession plan in place. When they lost a bunch of senior players in a short span of time, the team struggled to find proper replacements.
India should not have this problem as their succession planning process is working out well. MS Dhoni, who was a key player in the Indian lineup, has a backup in the form of Rishabh Pant. Although Pant hasn’t delivered, there are other players like Sanju Samson and Saha who can step up.
India have also given Rohit Sharma opportunity to captain when Kohli was rested and have a backup captain on standby. The succession planning template followed by India is a great model for the rest of the teams to learn and absorb. This is so they develop a strong group of talented players.