Here are five talking points in the aftermath of Team India’s stupendous win against England in the third and deciding T20I.
1. Kohli Mustn’t Open/Be The Aggressor :
Virat Kohli ended 2016 with a 50+ average in all three forms of the game. Part of it was down to his willingness to learn, improve and improvise. This year, in order to maximise the benefits of his runmaking potential, he came in as an opener in the three T20s, similar to what he does at RCB. While the idea does have merit, he mustn’t try to imitate his RCB opening partner Chris Gayle by trying to hit every second ball out of the park. His way of batting is a template of its own and Team India would be better served if he reverted back to his own game, or his own position at no. 3. If India need impetus at the top, slot in power-hitters like Rohit Sharma or Rishabh Pant. Maybe even Hardik Pandya.
2. Versatile Middle Order & Bowlers Winning Awards :
The 3 matches of this series showed that T20 isn’t all about mindless slogging. There are times when you need to drop anchor and nudge and guide your way to a total. Dhoni put up a good show in the 1st and 3rd matches and together with Raina and Yuvi took India to a total that ultimately proved more than enough.
Three matches, three bowlers winning Man of the Match awards. A bowler, spinner at that, winning the Man of the series award. Whoever said that T20 was a batsmen’s game? Bowlers have constantly updated their bag of tricks, to the point that we have powerplay and death-over specialists. Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan, Jasprit Bumrah, Moeen Ali and Yuzvendra Chahal brought some much-needed balance to the contest with their bravery and exploits.
3. England’s Legspin Travails :
After running India close in the ODI series, England took the lead in the T20 series through some excellent planning and execution in the first game. For a side that has won only one major ICC trophy till date, England have revamped their game since the 2015 World Cup. However, they still struggle against quality spin bowling from time to time. While the Test matches saw numerous collapses, their form in the limited-overs matches on this tour suggested they had turned a corner. But it all came apart at the seams in the final match against Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra”Yuzi” Chahal. Make no mistake, 8 for 8 is going to haunt them for a long time.
4. Roy and Root Ought To Make It Count :
Jason Roy succeeded in providing turbocharged starts to England’s innings in all 6 limited-overs matches. Joe Root scored 46*, 38 and 42 in the three T20s after scoring at least a 50 in all the Tests and ODIs. And yet, England are going back empty-handed from India. When you are in form, you must make it count. That means hundreds and daddy hundreds, contributions that define the outcome of the game. At the moment, their good form is being wasted. While no one doubts their commitment to England’s cause, they must do more.
5. A Case For India’s 2nd Line Of Spinners :
Virat Kohli highlighted it in his post-match interview that the emergence of Chahal and Jayant Yadav and Mishra’s continuing effectiveness in ODIs and T20s means India can afford to rest Ashwin and Jadeja whenever they want to. While the two will definitely slot into the team for the Champions Trophy and other big tournaments, the others can be used for bilateral series, with the other performers supporting them. This will give the others exposure and also prevent burnout of the two lead spinners. Of course, this line of thinking works because we have players who are all performing. And then there are others waiting in the wing – Kuldeep Yadav, Shreyas Gopal, even Parvez Rasool. The future does look bright.
Images Courtesy : AP, AFP.