Cricket

T20 World Cup | India needs to put its thinking cap on after big loss against Pakistan

Captain Virat Kohli asserted after the loss that the long gap will serve the team well to regroup.   | Photo Credit: AP

Some things never change, especially for Indian cricket fans whenever its men’s team suffers a crucial defeat. Just that the mode of expressing wrath has altered over the years. From pelting stones and burning effigies till not so long ago to racially trolling certain players in the digital media age, the fans have persisted with their exaggerated emotional outburst.

All is not lost

The fans may feel that the big battle on Sunday night against Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup opener has been lost. But, for the Indian team, the contest has just started. After all, India has four more group games left in order to finish in the top two and make it to the semifinals.

For that to happen, however, the team management has a lot to ponder, especially with regard to team combination.

The XI that took the field on Sunday — six specialist batters, Ravindra Jadeja the all-rounder and four specialist bowlers — could have appeared to be tailormade for T20 cricket a decade ago. But to consistently succeed in a rapidly-evolving T20 scenario, it appeared to be missing the much-needed zing.

Hardik and injuries

Hardik Pandya was missing from the field in the latter half, having hurt his right shoulder while batting. With the injuries having taken a toll on his body and being unable to bowl, India may have been served better with Ishan Kishan in place of Hardik.

Ishan’s inclusion would not only enable India to keep the left-and-right-hand combination for most of the innings but also avoid letting things stagnate in the middle overs if Rohit Sharma and/or K.L. Rahul depart early, as it happened on Sunday.

 

If Ishan and Rishabh Pant are in the XI, one of them can be slotted in at No. 3 in case of an early wicket to ensure India keep pressing the accelerator despite losing wickets.

As for the bowling group, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should make way for Shardul Thakur to give a better option in the middle overs and down the order with the willow, if required. With India having a six-day break ahead of Sunday’s must-win clash against New Zealand, the management will have to get the combination right.

Captain Virat Kohli asserted after the loss that the long gap will serve the team well to regroup. “It works really well for us from all points of view, knowing that we have played a full-fledged season already, we played the IPL, which is very high-octane by itself in testing conditions here in the UAE, and then we come into the World Cup,” Kohli said on Sunday.

“These big breaks are definitely something that’s going to help us as a team to be in the prime physical condition that we need to be in to play this high intensity tournament.”

Besides physical recovery, India will have to utilise the week for tactical purposes in order to bounce back after a demoralising loss.


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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 11:22:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/t20-world-cup-india-needs-to-put-its-thinking-cap-on-after-big-loss-against-pakistan/article37167459.ece

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