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T20 World Cup: What Team India must do to raise its game | Cricket News – Times of India


India lost to South Africa in the ongoing T20 World Cup on Sunday. But thanks to earlier wins against Pakistan and the Netherlands, Men in Blue remain masters of their own destiny. If they win against Bangladesh on Wednesday and Zimbabwe on Sunday in their two remaining Super 12 games, Rohit Sharma‘s men should be through to the semi-finals.
Nonetheless rough spots remain. And while there’s plenty of debate on KL Rahul‘s form, there are several other areas that need urgent attention.
1. Reduce dot balls: In the 2021 World Cup held in the UAE and Oman, Indian batters had ended up playing 54 dot balls against New Zealand and 46 against Pakistan. In other words, a staggering 42 per cent of deliveries weren’t scored off. Little has changed on that account. In the ongoing World Cup, India couldn’t score off 46 balls against Pakistan and 57 against South Africa. In all, 43% of the deliveries went run-less. In both these matches, India had suffered early reverses. Which means that the batsmen would have shunned high-risk shot-making for some time. It’s common knowledge that singles and twos are vital in such situations. The high number of no-run deliveries indicates an inability to rotate the strike. On Perth’s fast and bouncy pitch, the openers took 10 balls to get off the mark. Rohit and Rahul had just one scoring stroke in the first 12 deliveries they faced. Even Karthik failed to keep the score ticking making only 6 off 15 balls.
2. Hit the stumps: In the last over of India’s vital game against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup this September, both ‘keeper Pant and bowler Arshdeep failed to hit the stumps with their throws. During the entire tournament, the Indian team couldn’t find the target, even from close range. That shortcoming persists. Against Pakistan, Kohli failed to run out Shan Masood with all three wickets in sight. Masood was yet to score then. He remained unbeaten for 52. On the last ball of the Pak innings, Bhuvi and Karthik again were unable to hit the stumps, thus giving two extra runs away. Against South Africa on Sunday, poor marksmanship manifested again. Rohit Sharma twice missed chances to throw the stumps down from handshaking distance and send Markram packing. It cost India dearly. On the other hand, Shakib Al Hasan’s swift pick-up and perfect aim ran out Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine and turned the match decisively in Bangladesh’s favour.
3. Improve catching and stumping too: India’s catching, especially in the deep, and Karthik’s glovework against spinners have been below par. Axar and Ashwin have failed to hang on to tough chances off their own bowling. In the game against Pakistan, Masood got a second life after Ashwin spilled him at long leg. Ashwin dived too early, the ball dipped and he could only catch it one-drop. In the Asia Cup, Arshdeep had dropped a dolly against Pakistan. The Markram catch that Kohli grassed against South Africa belongs to the same league. That apart, Karthik missed two easy stumping against the Netherlands. Spinners Axar and Ashwin suffered.
4. Solve the KL Rahul conundrum: Statistics show that Rahul is a master of bi-laterals where little’s at stake. But he regularly falls short in key games in major ICC tournaments. In this World Cup, Rahul has looked shaky every time he has stepped out to bat. He has a strike rate of 65 and a batting average of 7. One can only hope that the team’s vice-captain finds confidence and form fast.
Coach Dravid doesn’t seem to believe in making too many changes. But Karthik, who failed in his two outings with the bat, has suffered a back injury. And, if he is unfit, it opens the door for Pant against Bangladesh. The left-hander’s previous record in the shortest form of cricket is hardly sterling. Nonetheless, opening with Pant can remedy a few problems of India. To begin with, he is an attacking left-hander, and the right-left combo makes the opposition work harder. He also handles pace well and has a match-winning record in Australia, albeit in Tests. And he is far better than Karthik in glovework, especially against spin. It would be interesting what the Indian thinktank decides for the Bangladesh game to be played on Wednesday.





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