Mistakes being made since the time Indian team for T20 World Cup was selected: Maninder Singh | Cricket News
It’s a funny game, and an upset by Scotland or Namibia against New Zealand in Group 2 can still bring the calculators out. But that is not a concession for the Indian team’s uninspiring performance, especially against New Zealand, which was a virtual quarterfinal.
The first hint of panic among the Indian camp was when Ishan Kishan came out to open the innings with KL Rahul in place of Rohit Sharma, after Virat Kohli lost the toss. It meant a demotion, albeit strategic, for both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Experts believe it was a decision to shield Rohit from Trent Boult’s inswingers. Rohit had trouble negotiating left arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the game against Pakistan and fell for a golden duck. But the move to push Ishan up and Rohit down backfired against the Kiwis.
“If you don’t trust him (Rohit) facing a left-arm seam bowler, then it is a serious problem,” said former India spinner Maninder Singh in his analysis during a conversation with TimesofIndia.com.
“A batsman of that caliber has to make adjustments as quickly as possible, which has not happened for so many years. You expect (that from) him, because he is going to be our next captain in T20 cricket,” he added, pointing to Kohli’s decision to step down from the T20I captaincy after the T20 World Cup and the fact that Rohit Sharma is considered the frontrunner to be the next Indian T20I captain.
(Rohit Sharma – AFP Photo)
“You don’t change his number for no rhyme or reason because that is the number (as an opener) where he’s scored most of his runs. And to adjust him, Virat Kohli is changing his (position in the) batting order. He (Virat) has scored most of his runs at No. 3,” Maninder told TimesofIndia.com.
Maninder has no doubt that the team panicked.
He was particularly baffled over the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin from the eleven, especially when the offspinner had been brought back to the white-ball squad for his experience.
“R Ashwin was in my team (for the game against NZ). I had three spinners, and instead of Hardik Pandya, I had Shardul Thakur. Because if Hardik is not going to bowl, you cannot play him. If the captain or the coach or anybody says that he’s good for the team just as a batsman as well, (that is) absolutely wrong,” Maninder, who has also been a selector previously, opined.
“Mistakes have been made since the time the team has been selected….You brought in (selected) R Ashwin saying that he’s got the experience. At the same you drop two players who had experience: Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal. So what you are saying and what you are thinking is not matching.”
Kohli’s captaincy has come in for scathing criticism in the last two matches, which India have lost heavily — by 10 wickets against Pakistan and by eight wickets against New Zealand. That leaves Kohli staring at another poor show in an ICC event under his captaincy.
There is a school of thought that says Kohli finds it easier to tackle teams in bilateral contests, since it’s the same opposition in every match, whereas he seems to get rattled as a captain in multi-team tournaments where the team has to face a different opposition in every match. Maninder did not disagree with that completely.
“This is a good point actually you have made. But I feel in a big Cup tournament, you do need a bit of luck as well. Like in this World Cup, he lost both the tosses. Had he (Virat) won both the tosses, the story would have been different,” Maninder reckoned.
India have played both their matches in Dubai and both have been the late-evening games, beginning at 7:30 pm, where dew has played a huge role and made teams winning the toss straight away choose to bowl first.
While Maninder agreed dew has been a factor, he also feels it’s the same for both the teams, and cited England’s example of working on the wet ball more purposefully.
“Dew is there for everybody. When I was watching England (vs Sri Lanka) yesterday (Nov 2), their players were really working on the ball; the towels were being rubbed on the ball to dry the wetness. But when the Indians were fielding, nothing like that was happening.”