IS AGGRESSIVE THE WAY TO GO FOR INDIA IN THE T20 WORLD CUP?

It was refreshing to see India’s new strategy in the series with England. Over the years, the Men in Blue have drawn criticism for not playing the shortest format in a contemporary manner, but that seems to have changed under Rohit Sharma’s leadership. Eoin Morgan, former captain of England, has praised India’s aggressive batting style, saying that the Men in Blue have now discovered what they were missing at the T20 World Cup in the UAE in 2021, in which India suffered a group-stage exit. Right from the opening ball, India played with a positive and aggressive mindset, similar to the finest teams in the world in the white-ball format. 

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Captain Rohit led by example and illustrated how to do it to the Team. The fact that Kohli tried to play that way despite his difficulties shows that he, too, has adopted the concept. Even though the runs may not have materialized, the significance of a player of Virat’s calibre cannot be understated.

India is still adjusting to the new strategy, and it’s safe to say that occasionally it will backfire, especially in the early stages. As it did in the second game until Jadeja’s heroic batting efforts came to their rescue. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see the squad moving on the right path.

Rohit speaks about the approach:

The Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has discussed the new approach saying, “The mindset is something we’re trying to change and that I guess is the biggest takeaway from all the players. They are willing to do that, they are willing to take that risk. And when I go and talk to certain individuals or players and I hear the same kind of response from them, that is the biggest takeaway.” 

Image Credits: ESPN

He went on to add that “The biggest takeaway has been the approach of each and every individual who has played this series. How they’ve relished the moment in the middle, taking on the opportunity, the opposition, taking that extra risk.” Further stressing India’s changing approach, Sharma added that “You got to make use of those six overs in the powerplay. There is a certain approach we want to take in the powerplay. You got to back yourself in this game, sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t.”

“It’s a conscious effort by everyone that we will be making sure we will be expressing ourselves, go out there and enjoy. it’s a good sign for Indian cricket because whenever a wicket fell, not just me, whoever went out to bat, they have gone from the second ball if it’s there. I think in T20 cricket, this will help the Team a lot,” Hardik Pandya spoke to Ishan Kishan in a chat for BCCI.

New Ball finally speaking for Blues:

One of the strengths in the Indian Team off late has been the ability to take wickets with the new ball. In the matches leading to the all-important T20 WC, India has picked up a wicket in every match with the new ball. Adding to the solidity of the Team is that with Bhuvneshwar Kumar back in form, India’s new-ball wicket numbers have gone up to a significant average of 2 per match. This also lends a hand in adding around 6 bowling options to the Team. 

Image Credits: ICC

England lost three wickets inside the powerplay, including the wicket of Jos Butler by Bhuvneshwar, removing the new England T20I skipper for a golden duck. The Indian Team has their first-choice bowling unit in Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Harshal Patel, alongside all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. All of them, alongside Jadeja and Hardik, are proven performers and make India one of the strongest bowling units in the world. 

Emergence of a quality second string:

Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, and Umran Malik are still in the running as pacers, while Ravi Bishnoi, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, and potentially Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar are still in the running as spinners. The only remaining question is who will serve as back-ups for the front runners.

The batting department has its share of stars as well. Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Tripathi and others are itching at a chance to steal the regular’s spot.

Image Credits: TOI

The biggest positive which has come from India’s unbeaten run was that every newcomer raised their hand and made their presence felt for the T20 World Cup selection, adding to the team management’s sweet dilemma. Despite missing a majority of the games, one would assume that Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rishabh Pant remain lock-ins for the tournament.

The ‘Virat Kohli’ issue:

Given that his selection for the T20 World Cup squad has been called into question, Virat Kohli appears to be the sole name on the lips of every cricket fan in the world right now. In this series, Kohli attempted to play a high-risk game, but it did not work out for him. Although it’s lovely to see Kohli’s intention, runs are ultimately all that matters, and he’s currently lacking in that department. 

While there is no lack of talent in the nation ready to take his place, Kohli’s experience cannot be replaced either. It is important to remember how successful the former Indian captain is in Australia. For these reasons, the Indian Team will be hoping that Kohli can soon resume scoring runs; otherwise, they may have to consider dismissing him, despite the fact that doing so would probably backfire more often than succeed.

Not only is the form of Virat Kohli a concern for Team India, but also the likes of Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan Shreyas Iyer, and Dinesh Karthik. Pant has a new batting role as the opener. Although showing early success with a knock of 26 in the second game, he could only muster a knock of 1 in the series’ penultimate match. Similar to how Dinesh Karthik only got 29 runs in three games, Shreyas Iyer failed to capitalize on a strong start in the Trent Bridge T20I. While Kishan has scored runs in the home series against South Africa, doubts remain about his technique and mindset. 

Surya’s stellar rise and Rahul’s bad luck:

The selectors have even more to think about with Suryakumar Yadav stepping up and giving stellar performances. His efforts resulted in many positive results. Despite that, the Men in Blue still have a lot of questions to answer with their batting order while only making the idea of moving past Kohli harder. KL Rahul, too, is walking on a thin line with his ongoing journey towards recovery from injury. His participation is World Cup is debatable.

With so many different players to look at and a variety of combinations to choose from, it will be exciting to see what decisions are made regarding the Indian Squad in the T20 World Cup. The Men in Blue are strong contenders to clinch the title this time around and will have to keep up their current momentum to achieve the same. The tournament, slated to start on October 16, will be a chance at redemption for India after their poor show last time around. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates!

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