“Why are you so rigid?” – Aakash Chopra on Team India sticking to their 5-bowler strategy despite the ‘consistently misfiring’ batting

Aakash Chopra has questioned Team India for their rigidity in playing five frontline bowlers even when their batting has misfired consistently.

The Indian team breached the 300-run mark just once in the three-match Test series against South Africa. However, they didn’t add depth to their batting, and stuck to their tactic of playing only five specialist batters.

While reflecting on the reasons for Team India’s defeat in the Test series against South Africa, Chopra was critical of the visitors’ stubbornness to play five bowlers. He said the following in a video shared on his YouTube channel:

“If your batting is misfiring consistently, then why are you so rigid? Why are you so adamant that you will play five bowlers always, along with five batters and Rishabh Pant. Rishabh Pant did score a century in the last innings, but his performance was okay-okay before that.”

The former India player highlighted that a sixth batter was not played despite the dismal form of some of the team’s main batters. Aakash Chopra explained:

“Rahane is not scoring runs; Pujara is not scoring runs; Kohli has not scored a century, but still, we play five batters. We are not at all ready to play a sixth batter. I mean this was slight stubbornness that we will do like this only.”

Team India might have opted to stick with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara because of the experience they bring to the table. However, they could have added another batter, considering of the duo’s underwhelming returns in the last few years.

“Eventually, you need runs” – Aakash Chopra

Chopra highlighted that bowlers cannot win matches if there are insufficient runs to defend.
Chopra highlighted that bowlers cannot win matches if there are insufficient runs to defend.

Aakash Chopra added that an extra bowler is not required on bowling-friendly surfaces. He elaborated:

“What happened even after doing this? The total idea of this was that even if your team scores 200-225, you have five bowlers, and you will save that but you could not do that. Eventually, you need runs. When there is help in the pitch, and the opposing side’s batting is slightly weak, you don’t need five bowlers.”

The renowned commentator feels Team India are regretting their decision to bowl five bowlers, especially when Rohit Sharma was not available for the series and Virat Kohli had to miss the second Test. Aakash Chopra observed:

“You can manage with four bowlers and play an extra batter, but the team said they will not play even if Kohli and Rohit are not there. But when you look back, you will feel that the strategy misfired, and you became a bit too stubborn.”

Batting is misfiring. For a while. Collapses are happening too often. But India will still play the 5-batter combo…on seamer-friendly pitches. Even the absence of Rohit and Virat won’t make India deviate from this tactic. Too rigid?

Virat Kohli and the management have often reasoned that five bowlers are required to give the bowlers adequate rest between spells. On the flip side, the bowlers don’t get the requisite break between two innings if the team does not bat for enough overs.

Edited by Bhargav

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