Can the team pull out its niggles when the T20 World Cup takes place in their home ground by October next year?
TOI take a look …
Rohit Sharma is fit and ready to shoot at the top of the World Cup coming order. Rohit-Dhawan Partnership Rahul needs to push him back to 4th place. Given the uncertainties that plague the middle-order, perhaps it is not a bad thing.
More beef in the middle….
This is the problem area. Nobody seems to be sure of Sanju Samson / Manish Pandey / Shreyas Iyer. Samson failed to make his start in Australia but holds the promise of a stunning strokeplay. Iyer had a memorable over against Jampa to show, but little more. It seems that Pandey is criminally underused. What happens when Rahul is pushed back by order?
Add Suryakumar Yadav and Ishaan Kishan in the mix and there are several options. Captain Kohli admitted that India lost the third T20 on Tuesday as they were slow in the middle overs while batting. That begs the question, will Rishabh Pant Panju return by next October?
… or maybe more all-rounders?
Hardik Pandya ranked 6th as a power packed finisher. But can he bowl his full quota with the ball at the World Cup? If Pandya redesigns his order and attains full fitness, India will be exceptional at home. Ravindra Jadeja, under home conditions, is a fixed and the only true all-rounder today, which means India can toy with another left-field option to resolve the muddle.
In his current batting form, why is Jadeja pushing him to 5th place, Pandya’s 6th place and sharing the sixth bowling role and allowing him to have another all-round pick at No. 7 to chip explosively with the bat?
India has a year to figure out who can improve their six-hitting prowess and economic rate to play this role. Krunal Pandya, Tiwatia, Dube, Axar, Harshal Patel… Vijay Shankar, anyone? The problem is, none of them seem like a controversial choice.
Perhaps India can encourage Sharduul Thakur, who has hit some impressive sixes, to work on his batting and move up to number 7. That frees up space for the extra bowler.
Fixed in the Chahal home. Jadeja as well.
Chahal-Sundar can also carry out a T20 spin attack. On Australian pitches, the Svepson-Zampa combination has done a good job of putting chalk in the middle overs. However, Sunder had a tremendous series (ER 7.08). They can even bat! But the Jadeja / Sundar / Chahal trio cannot play unless some of the regular players are seated.
Fielding and catching
India are proud of some of the best fielders but they have had several common moments of late. The flood of abandoned catches on the third T20I was unexplained. This is another area where India needs to find ways to improve.
Rise and rise Natarajan
Bumrah and Shami / Shardul Thakur are engaged. But the toast of the town is undoubtedly Natarajan, especially after Kohli made it clear that the bowler can adapt to India’s World Cup plans. But what about Deepak Chahar?