India’s cricketing summer continues to be clouded by defeats as it lost another game this time to arch rivals, Pakistan. While a T20 game is generally a bit of a lottery and there can be no specific planning for it, India’s moves made little sense and didn’t not help in achieving the balance that makes for a good team.
Going in with only three regular bowlers was always a dicey proposition. Jadeja can be a restrictive bowler at the Test level, but at the limited overs game his predictability makes him the ideal bowler to wait for to make up for a slam bang .
India’s bowling has been the big worry as England showed in the Tests as well as the T20 matches that were played and then by packing the team with batsmen matters weren’t helped. Whoever is thinking up these strategies is clearly a dreamer.
Playing with so many batsmen also creates a scene where the top order thinks that there is so much batting to come that they can afford to go bang bang from the beginning, and while that may work in domestic cricket it seldom does in international arena. Someone has to take the responsibility of batting for 15 overs so that the others can play their shots without worrying about running out of batsmen.
A score of 140 which is an asking rate of seven per over is never easy to chase and that should be the minimum target for a team batting first. Sure it is not easy to know what could be a good score to defend, but if one goes by the seven runs an over maximum, then the players know what to aim for and anything over that should come as the overs progress and the situation is reassessed.
Rahane did not have the rush of blood that he had in the earlier games against England and so played a delightful innings even as Gambhir struggled to get his fluency. Yuvraj, Raina threw their wickets away and the grass on the pitch meant that most batsmen pinned on the back-foot were lost and unable to counter the extra bounce that the Pakistani bowlers generated.
Even then with Bhuvneshwar Kumar producing a beautiful spell of swing bowling Pakistan were on the ropes. It was here that Dhoni erred in bringing a non regular bowler Kohli on, and giving the batsmen a breather and time to recover and get some momentum. Once the foot was taken off the throat, the Pakistanis did not look back, with the experienced Hafeez and Malik making sure there were no alarms and then Malik took his team to a win with a calculated assault.
India need to regroup quickly else another series will be lost. They have to be positive and the seniors must take greater responsibility in ensuring that there is no embarrassment in Ahmedabad.
Professional Management Group