India to face lower order woes in T20Is against Australia: India are set to ponder over their combination for the first T20I.
The recent events in Indian cricket proves that convolutions in selecting a playing eleven for a cricket team can be contagious. Just when India seemed to have solved their prolonged middle-order conundrum in ODIs, their T20I combination for the upcoming series against Australia gives one the feeling that it needs amendments.
Despite selecting a 16-member squad for the Australia series, the selectors have missed a few major plots. Having selected four spin-bowling options for a three-match T20I series in Australia in itself asks a lot of questions.
There could be two potential reasons behind the same – a) India don’t have a fast-bowling all-rounder other than Hardik Pandya and b) The selectors were genuinely of the opinion that four spinners would be of some use down under. Apparently, both the reasons are as sad as anything can be for Indian cricket.
With India’s specialist batsmen not having it in themselves to bowl a few overs, it boils down to create considerable problems for Virat Kohli in selecting the perfect playing eleven for the first T20I at Brisbane.
Points to consider for Team India ahead of the T20I series:
- Lokesh Rahul vs Manish Pandey – The first area of concern is the only one which is not related to the lower order. With Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma set to open the innings at Brisbane, whether India will play Lokesh Rahul at No. 3 and captain Virat Kohli at No. 4 (like they did in England) or vice-versa or Kohli at No. 3 and Manish Pandey down the order after the likes of Rishabh Pant remains unknown.
Recently, there were reports of Rohit Sharma missing the first T20I due to the India A Test which he is scheduled to play in New Zealand from November 16. If that happens, Rahul might open the batting alongside Dhawan and Pandey might bat at No. 4.
- Three pacers and two spinners? – Assuming that India fields its best five bowling options in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav/Khaleel Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, it will leave them with Kumar batting at No. 7 and a mere non-existent tail.
In Australian conditions, once cannot expect them to play with any less than three pacers, especially when they don’t have any fast-bowling all-rounder. So, if they try to strengthen their batting by playing Krunal Pandya in place of either Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav, they will have to compromise on their bowling.
To add fire to this argument is the notion that despite India playing Krunal Pandya or anyone, they will only have five bowling options.
3. Consider playing six bowling options? – In what appears to be the most wise options for a T20I, India might also look to play six bowling options. Given the nature of their 16-member squad, one expects them to play three pacers and three spinners in such a scenario.
That being said, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. In a bid to accommodate an extra spin-bowling option, India will have to do away with a batsman. If India chooses to do so, they might be left with the option of playing any two out of Rahul, Pandey, Pant and Dinesh Karthik. Therefore, might take a toll on their batting line-up with Krunal Pandya batting at No. 6, Kumar at No. 7 and (again) a non-existent tail.
Another school of thought under this point is playing another all-rounder in Washington Sundar at No. 7. In an option which might strengthen the batting line-up to some extent, it will take away the privilege of playing the best bowling attack.
What we feel is the best way to go forward
First and foremost, the Indian selectors and team management should stop depending so much on one particular individual that things go wayward in his absence. Had India groomed another fast-bowling all-rounder alongside Hardik Pandya, things might have been better today.
In what has happened now can’t be changed. Hence, it is advisable to use the available resources in the best possible manner. In whichever combination India opts for at the moment, they will have to compromise on one aspect or the other.
In such a scenario, they might as well play five specialist bowling options (three pacers and two spinners, preferably wrist-spinners) and six specialist batsmen.
Read some of the latest Twitter reactions on the Indian team below:
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 12, 2018
No. of century partnerships in T20Is this year:
India – 6
All other teams – 8 #IndvWI
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) November 11, 2018
— jeet worah (@jeetworah) November 12, 2018
INDIA MEN and INDIA WOMEN winning a T20I on the same day:
30 Mar 2014
26 Jan 2016
29 Jan 2016
24 Feb 2016
24 Feb 2018
11 Nov 2018
— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) November 11, 2018