Ian Chappell writes that based on the outcome of the first India-Australia Test in Pune, it is fair to say it is a myth that Indian batsmen play spin bowling better than the rest of the world. The former Australian skipper has also blamed the IPL for India’s poor close-in catching standards.
It is hard to win in sport but it is even more difficult to maintain a standard of excellence over a long period.
The Indian cricket team has managed to reach and retain a high standard of play under the leadership of Virat Kohli, but in Pune they faltered badly. The most confounding aspects of India's calamitous loss were the passive way they succumbed to the left-arm orthodox spin of Steve O'Keefe and their fumble-fingered attempts at catching in the close-in positions.
For many years it has been accepted that Indian batsmen play spin bowling better than most. On the evidence of Pune, that is now a myth. If batsmen continually allow an accurate spinner to maintain the length he wants to bowl on a helpful pitch, then disaster is sure to strike.
KL Rahul was one Indian batsman who adopted an aggressive outlook. He was enjoying mounting success until his adventurous shot-making outweighed reason. Under the conditions provided in Pune, batsmen needed to utilise calculated aggression rather than a knockout-blow approach.