The high-flying Indian skipper Virat Kohli has said that though his team has been brought down by the Kiwis in the ODI format, it’s not relevant as he is concentrating on this year’s T20 World Cup. This has surprised his supporters. It has not gone well with the cricketing world, including his friends. It has also baffled and the BCCI.
After the ongoing series against New Zealand, India will play South Africa in a three-match ODI series, which will be its last in 2020. Will that too be meaningless for him? After the one-sided clean sweep of T20 series, the Indians lost the ODI series.
The T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from October and the Indian team is not playing many ODIs this year. The international teams are also fighting hard to earn points for the World
Test Championship, which will be decided by June 2021.
Clean sweep by India
Two super overs and a bullish series win sums up India’s series whitewash of New Zealand. This is significant in a country where India had won just one T20I prior to this series. Indian players go on to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) next with no T20I series scheduled between now and the summer festival.
Dubey’s loss is Pandey’s gain
All-rounder Shivam Dubey’s case is quite tricky. Though he was given chances in T20 and ODI, he was sent to bat in when only one or two overs were left and he had to sacrifice his natural batting for the team’s position.
Manish Pandey has been left on the bench far too many times since making a comeback to the Indian team. An aggressive player at domestic and India A levels, he took it upon himself to finish off matches at one point of time for his local teams. He is doing the same for the national team, having remained unbeaten in all of his last seven innings. Pandey has not been dismissed in T20 since August 2019, with scores reading 2*, 22*, 31*, 14*, 14*, 50* and 11*. In fact, since the beginning of 2018, he has only been dismissed six times in T20s in 20 innings and averages 78, obviously beefed up by those not-outs.
India have used Pandey quite well. The management gave him chance at the correct time. The half-century at Wellington should ideally have shown India that Pandey adds better value when given time at the crease. With his fielding adding to his finishing skills, Pandey might just become indispensable for India, especially as Hardik Pandya’s fitness continues a matter of concern.
K.L. Rahul’s double role solved problems
K.L. Rahul has solved the headache of Kohli by accepting to play the role behind the wicket. His prolific scoring has not affected the keeping, and this has boosted the team’s strategy. Rishabh Pant’s regular failure created this situation. While Shikar Dhawan often edged Rahul out in ODIs, the latter prevailed in T20s with his impactful performances in the IPL.
Going into the New Zealand series, India still had Dhawan in the squad, but had to be pulled out because of an injury. Rahul used the chance to hammer down his place in the team. The Karnataka opener was a terror for the Kiwis, as he slammed 56*, 57, 27, 39 and 45, scoring at a strike rate of over 135 in four of the five games. Rahul's T20 average of 45.65 is stupendous. He has two hundreds and 11 half-centuries, making him one of the most dangerous T20 openers. This series just went on to show why Rahul is ahead of Dhawan in this format of the game.
Saini can develop as all-rounder
The new find, Navdeep Saini, was equally good in the series, delivering pressure overs with aplomb and standing out with his thinking and temperament. His 45 runs in an ODI has raised the hopes of team management. Mohammed Shami played three and showcased a wide repertoire of variations and has become a phenomenal death bowler in recent times. Then there are Jaspreet Bumrah and Shardul Thakur.
Thakur, who has often been in and out of the squad, played an impactful hand, including a crunching final over to force a Super Over in the fourth T20. With Deepak Chahar and Hardik Pandya, both injured now, possibly returning for the next series, India might have tough choices to make. The fast bowling pool they have right now is incredible for T20 cricket and almost certainly match-winning on its own.
Bangla ugly play robbed their achievement
Bangladesh’s ugly ‘play’ in field has robbed their achievement forever. The U19 ICC U19 World Cup final turned joke after players from Bangladesh got physical with Indian players as soon as Bangladesh hit the winning runs to claim their maiden ICC tournament (across age groups).
It was unclear as to what triggered the altercation between the cricketers; apparently, it took place when Bangladesh players and support staff came running onto the field as soon as left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan hit the winning runs off India U19 medium-pacer Sushant Mishra.
The ICC has taken a very serious view of it and may declare the verdict soon. Bangladeshi players have allegedly said uncharitable things. Soon, more players got involved, and the pushing and shoving continued for about 40-50 seconds even as the on-field umpires and support staff from both the sides tried to separate the cricketers. In the end, it was India U19 coach Paras Mhambrey who finally managed to calm the boys and lead them into the dressing room.