Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: Fourth Test of the five-match series between India and England is scheduled to start from Thursday at Manchester. The series is evenly poised 1-1 after the home side crushed India by 266 runs in the third Test at Rose Bowl, Southampton. Now the tourists have lost the momentum they gained after the Lord`s Test and are looking all over the place. If MS Dhoni-led side wants to give a tough fight to resurgent England, it needs to work on five areas.
Improve fielding standards: Indian fielding has been quite sloppy in the series so far. In the 3rd Test, they dropped many crucial catches at the slip cordon. After the retirement of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Indian team has been struggling to find their replacements at this crucial position. And as they say catches win matches, Indian slip fielders need to work harder and be on their toes every time they take positions. Apart from that Dhoni should be more aggressive in his field settings as he needs to understand he is playing in whites, where wickets are important.
Batsmen should capitalise on their starts: Most of the Indian batsmen are getting starts but are not capitalising enough to convert them into big knocks. They should put a high price tag on their wickets and shouldn`t be throwing away their wickets. Shot selection is also an area of concern, as most of the Indian batsmen in the last Test gifted their wickets to spinner Moeen Ali. Besides, it`s high time Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli should have some big knocks under their belt in the series.
Bowlers should learn the art of taking wickets: To win a Test match, a team has to take twenty wickets. So Indian bowlers need to learn the art of picking up wickets at regular intervals. Seamers should try and learn the traits of picking wickets in English conditions to give the home team`s in-form batsmen some tough time in the middle.
Dhoni should pick the playing XI sensibly: First and foremost, Indian skipper MS Dhoni should replace out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan with `old hand` Gautam Gambhir to open the innings. Apart from that, Dhoni should pick offie R Ashwin in place of Ravinder Jadeja or Rohit Sharma as England have too many left-handers in their side. Going with five bowlers might work for India.
Breathing space for seamers: Dhoni should learn how to utilise his speedsters in patches from his English counterpart -- especially, in such a long Test series, where seamers can worn out easily. Dhoni should use them effectively by giving them short spells rather than going for long and tiring spells. Ishant Sharma is already injured and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has also started feeling the heat, so Dhoni has no other option but to use his fast bowlers wisely.