SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: India batsman Virat Kohli is caught by Alastair Cook (l) off the bowling of Moeen Ali after review during the 4th Specsavers Test Match between England and India at The Ageas Bowl on September 2, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The One Positive To India’s Series Defeat

India came tantalizingly close to leveling the enthralling Test series with England at Southampton. However, in a game of constant twists and turns, India ended up failing to chase down England’s target of 245 in the fourth innings. This handed England an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five match series.

Old problems resurfaced for India. Their top order did not fire and Ashwin once again struggled in England, both providing vivid flashbacks to 2014. Those parallels to the series four yours ago were enhanced by Moeen Ali returning to the England side and spinning India out on a dusty pitch.

While it may seem like doom and gloom for India fans at the moment, there is one positive that has arisen from India’s early series defeat. Although Indian captain Virat Kohli has assured spectators that India will play with their same high intensity at the Oval, they now have a golden opportunity to starting blooding their young players.

There is an unfortunate paradox in play when it comes to handing players their debut. Say India had won in Southampton and the series was level at 2-2, there would be no chance for Prithvi Shaw to open the batting. Indeed, fans and the Indian team management would no doubt consider him too young and inexperienced to be playing in such a crucial match. However, there is no way for a youngster to gain match experience without playing.

Now, though, India have the perfect opportunity to drop one of their opening batsman and try out the young Prithvi Shaw at the top of their order. Shaw, who is still a teenager, has shown his potential at a young age and even played for the Delhi Daredevils during the IPL. India’s opening partnership had come under huge scrutiny this series and it is key that India sort out their ideal opening partnership before touring Australia later this year. Lokesh Rahul’s technique against in-swing is abysmal and Shikhar Dhawan never really got going. Out of the current two openers, Rahul is more likely to be dropped since he is averaging significantly less than his partner.
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It would be an appalling decision not to give Prithvi Shaw a go in the fifth Test match. It is a dead rubber, with no real consequences. India have to start looking to the future. Murali Vijay’s days as an Indian cricketer are numbered. It is likely that he has played for India for the final time, unless India open up with him and Shaw at the Oval to give him one last chance. The wisest course of action for the Indian selectors should be to open with Prithvi Shaw and Murali Vijay.

The Indian selectors have got a few things wrong this tour. Not playing Cheteshwar Pujara in Edgbaston was a poor decision, along with leaving out Ravindra Jadeja for the Test at Southampton. A failure to pick Prithvi Shaw in the fifth Test would be the worst make out of all them. This is the one positive to India’s series defeat, an opportunity to look to the future and expose a talented youngster to overseas conditions and a world class bowling attack.

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