Despite winning nine T-20 international games, Men in Blue have a lot to do to win next year’s T-20 World Cup in India.
Indian fans finally breathed a sigh of relief on December 6 as the Men in Blue clinched the T-20 series against Australia. The Indian team was impressive in the second game of the series as they chased down a mammoth score of 194. The win against Australia on Sunday meant that India have won nine T-20 games on the trot.
Despite the convincing display on Sunday, India has a lot of work to be ready to become the best T-20 team in the world and lift the World Cup at home in 2021. After the series in Australia, India will get a chance to further improve the team during the five-match home series against England. Here are a couple of things that India needs to do to become a T-20 powerhouse before the World Cup.
An aggressive approach while batting
India managed to chase down the mammoth score on Sunday through some fine hard-hitting in the powerplay and great finishing from Hardik Pandya. However, there is a consistent problem for the Men in Blue during the middle overs. They often struggle during the second phase of the innings- from the sixth over until the 15thover.
Virat Kohli’s men managed to score only 26 runs between the sixth and tenth over after getting off to a flying start. A similar drop in run-rate was observed during the first T-20 international. The Indian team should not approach these overs similar to the middle overs of ODI, rotating the strike with singles and doubles. Instead, they should adopt an aggressive approach to give the opposition no breathing space, especially when they have a lot of wickets in hand. (Stats courtesy: Cricbuzz)
The selection committee needs to be brave
Along with an aggressive approach from the team management in the batting department, the selection committee needs to support them by making brave decisions. Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey are two talented players, but they cannot coexist as anchors in the same team when Virat Kohli is playing at number three. Kohli deserves to play in that spot and numbers back him to play him there consistently as he averages an excess of 50 in this format with a healthy strike rate of 139. (Stats courtesy: Cricbuzz)
To have explosive batsmen around Kohli, the selection committee needs to give more chances to the likes of Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Sanju Samson. These three batsmen have shown in the Indian Premier League during the last few seasons that they can score big in middle overs. Samson didn’t manage to score big in the last two T-20 games, but his intent can be faulted. He was trying to score runs quickly and give purpose to the Indian innings.
Similarly, Yadav scored 480 runs in 15 innings during IPL 2020 at a strike rate of 145. He has been a consistent player for Mumbai Indians in the last three seasons. On the other hand, Pant has also shown for Delhi Capitals that he can score runs at a rapid rate. He did have an underwhelming IPL 2020, but Pant has that x-factor to make this team even better. The selection committee needs to be brave and focus on these three players and make them ready for next year’s World Cup. They are unlikely to feature in the same lineup, but a combination of two players can make the Indian team even more dangerous.
India couldn’t win the T-20 World Cup in 2016 when they were playing at home. However, the pressure on the current team management will increase if they fail to win the tournament next year. These two changes will not guarantee them success, but surely the chances of winning will go up by implementing them sooner rather than later.