India vs Bangladesh, 1st T20I: India seeks to adjust its team before the T20 World Cup
NEW DELHI: Like the weather in Delhi, India's plans for the World T20 next year are still a bit confusing. There is room for new faces in the upper, middle and lower order, but above all the need for a terminator is glimpsed, which means that the invisible presence of MS Dhoni still casts a long shadow.
As an experienced activist Rohit Sharma - he will become the most limited T20 Indian player on Sunday - he prepares to lead India on Sunday at Ferozeshah Kotla, TOI takes a look at some of the conversation points ...
Dube for Pandya?
He is 26 years old and promoted to be the next great hitter. In the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, he had a strike rate of 146.28 and an average of 88.5. You can also play a little at medium pace. With Hardik Pandya injured and MS Dhoni AWOL, India needs a great hitter to finish the games. A total of 30 players have represented India in T20I in the last 22 months, and Dube could become the 31st Sunday.
The taking of Captain Rohit: Shivam reached the ranks last year. He made his mark just before last year's IPL auction, that's why people were so interested in buying it. One (between Shivam and Sanju Samson ) I could definitely play.
Punting on Pant
Rishabh pants might blow hot and cold but his place is not under threat yet. That was the message from the team management a day before the game, meaning Sanju Samson 's presence is intended more to make Pant look over his shoulder. Pant's strike rate of 159.94 in all T20s (including IPL) is well above Samson's 126.48, and he has a higher average (33.76 to 27.48) too. However, Samson just scored the fastest List A double-ton by an Indian batsman, so can he wriggle in purely as a batsman?
The captain's take: Sanju has performed quite well in the domestic circuit and in the IPL. All doors are open to all ... but there is a long time before you judge Rishabh. We just have to back it up a little more.
Set, do not pursue goals
India has lost 6 of 16 batting games since January 2018, which means that its winning percentage of 62.5% is comparatively lower than 76.47% of the games they won chasing in that period (lost only 4 of 18 chasing, with a result without result). Naturally, the team is interested in improving that record, so they could deliberately hit first, regardless of conditions, a few times before Australia next year.
The captain's take: We have analyzed certain numbers and statistics when it comes to pursuing and also publishing objectives. Our numbers are very good when we pursue, whether in India or outside India. Something we really want to focus on is publishing goals and defending them. That's where we lack.
India, the world's top Test team and second-best ODI team, are ranked a relatively middle-of-the-road No. 5 in T20Is, and this rankles. They want to climb up the ladder fast, and T20 is a data-analyzing, number-crunching nightmare in which the perfect formula is perfectly elusive. India's method, as Rohit Sharma said, will be to do their homework well. But their time is limited.
The captain's take: I'm pretty sure (we're number 5). Do my homework. We need to increase that number. We want to be at the top in all three formats.
Deep bat, better bowl
The recent philosophy of India has been to try to eliminate the tail in the T20I, which means that the pure-legged spinners left the scene against the West Indies and the SA. But without Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar and Jadeja in a home series, it may be time to return to Chahal. But who among the pacemakers Khaleel and Shardul Thakur will be associated Deepak Chahar ?
The captain's take: You must make sure that, whatever the small opportunity you have, you will make the most of it. That is the challenge of international cricket. You will not get exactly what you want. You will have to work your way, you will have to gain that position.
Hitman at the helm
Rohit Sharma is no stranger to leading in this format. So while it's only a temporary stint, expect him to introduce some of his own philosophies. I have corrected himself once while talking about Bangladesh (they beat us, not upset. They are a very, very good team), and may not be averse to some course corrections if he feels like it.
The captain's take: I am not a regular captain, so my job is to take the team forward from where Virat left. There are certain thinking processes with the team that is happening right now. I just want to take that forward. That's my job.