Indian Cricket Team’s recently concluded T20I series against New Zealand has given the Indian team several lessons. The series was filled with great batting and bowling displays from both groups. Martin Guptill and Mitchell Santner were the top performers for the Kiwis while it was Rohit Sharma, Harshal Patel, Suryakumar Yadav, and Ravichandran Ashwin for the Indians. All in all, it was good cricketing action on display. So, which are the top 5 learnings from the T20I New Zealand Tour of India: –
A Left-Handed Opener for Team India: –
Successful teams generally depend on left-handed and right-handed batting combinations. Technically such a pair present on the crease makes the life of the bowlers difficult. Having this opposite combination makes the bowlers change their angles multiple times. The bowlers in turn find it difficult to settle down. After losing faith in Shikhar Dhawan, India has found a good opening combination in Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. But a backup option is always required. Ishan Kishan is the left-handed backup option that India is looking to groom.
Ishan has shown good form in recent times as an opener. In the toss as well, Rohit Sharma expressed his desire of making Ishan Kishan a backup opener. Ishan on a personal note likes to play in that position. In both the practices matches of the T20I World Cup, Ishan Kishan dominated. In the last match of the season, Ishan was dismissed for 29 but his intention of attacking was visible and it was a great inning.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar in-form: –
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one bowling option that the Indian selectors backed in the New Zealand series. After having a poor performance in the T20 World Cup and losing his position in the playing 11, it was expected that he will be dropped. But that was not the case. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a champion in the true sense and he showed signs of form in this series. Deepak Chahar the other contender for the spot also had a splendid series. Deepak Chahar showed an exquisite performance with the bat in the last T20I. His innings helped to change the momentum of the innings.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first T20I bowled with an economy of 6 runs per over. Add to it the wicket of Daryl Mitchell and Tim Seifert. He was expensive in the second T20I but took one wicket. In the 3rd T20I, he was given only two over which he bowled with an economy of 6. Deepak on the other hand bowled with economies of 10, 10.5, and 11 but he always picked the important wickets.
Lack of Stability in Middle Order: –
Since 2018, India has tried 23 batsmen in the T20Is. This is the biggest number alongside Sri Lanka. This has ensured that India never has a stable middle order. In the T20I World Cup as well weren’t sure about our middle-order batsmen. India tried Suryakumar at number 3 in absence of Virat Kohli. Surya won the first game for India but was dismissed for 2 ducks in the next two T20Is. India has also experimented with sending Rishabh Pant at number 4. This experiment has not turned out well. Many veteran cricketers have said that Rishabh Pant is not clear about his role in the batting lineup.
What happens in this case of uncertainty is that Shreyas Iyer has to suffer. He is a player who can be India’s long-term solution for the number 4 spot. Trying and constantly experimenting at number 4 makes sure that no individual gets time to understand the position. Not to forget the fact that in T20s the team needs floaters as well. The equation can be kept simple. After the 13th over if the 2nd wicket falls, India can send their floater but before that, we can have Shreyas Iyer or Surya. The team needs to one particular name for a long time. Obviously, Rohit Sharma became the batsman he is today after playing 86 ODIs. So, backing a player is important.
Good Form by Senior Indian Spinners: –
India has made a good decision by picking Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin. Both the players are senior bowlers and have a world of experience with them. Yuzvendra Chahal got a chance in the last T20I against New Zealand. He was dominated by Martin Guptill in the first over which was bowled in the powerplay. But eventually, it was Yuzi who got Guptill out in the next over. Ravichandran Ashwin on the other hand is the biggest surprise. Ashwin had been dropped in 2017 as a result of a technical shift from finger spinner to leg spinners. But when Yuzi and Kuldeep were under the pump, India went back to Jadeja and Ashwin. And Ash performed exceptionally well.
Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid Forming a Good Duo: –
The position of the Indian Cricket Team’s skipper is one of the most prestigious positions in the country. We have previous experiences of rifts between the captain and the coach of the team. Here I am referring to the Dada and Chappell era. But this is not the case with Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma. Rohit and Rahul seem to share a great dynamic and have a common mindset. This is the biggest lesson for the series as having a great leadership group ensures future success.