T20 Cricket: Why Should Team India Need Batsmen?


Well, as far as the three batting stalwarts of Indian Cricket—Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul—are concerned they’re needed all the time irrespective of the relentless experimentation process with promising youngsters and whatever frame of mind or form they’ve been in recently. They can come anytime anywhere and for all key white-ball world tournaments they are a must, and they’re always justified in displacing batsmen like Deepak Hooda, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and even seasoned campaigners like Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan. However, it stops just at that point. After they do or don’t do their bit in their batting the all-rounders take over. No doubt, all-rounders like Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya have been doing great in recent times. But putting in them all the responsibility to bowl, to bat and to win the matches cannot be a long-term strategy. Besides, as has been witnessed in recent months, the in-form and specialized batsmen like Suryakumar Yadav and Dinesh Karthik are demoted down the order to facilitate the all-rounders and the hapless Karthik is even asked to bat after Axar Patel if that all-rounder figures in any of the Team India franchises.

 

Again beyond doubt, the new ‘batting’ order has been delivering in terms of wins. In the second match of the Asia Cup-2022 hosted by Sri Lanka in UAE against the archrivals Pakistan Team India Rohit Franchise managed to win in the last over thanks mainly to the all-rounders, Jadeja and Pandya. But as we’ve said this cannot be long-term strategy, because the presence of Shaheen Afridi in the Pakistan team could’ve altered the course of the game and in that eventuality the demoted batsmen couldn’t have offered suitable resistance to win the game. This is very obvious that putting bowling all-rounders ahead of the established batsmen would inevitably affect their confidence and performance adversely. On the Australian pitches in the upcoming ICC World Cup T20-2022 this strategy is fraught with the gravest of dangers, if the previous T20 World Cup in UAE is any indication. The ICC has been doing everything to help the international teams prepare well for the event including that of converting the format of the Asia Cup-2022 into T20. But unfortunately, Team India with all its varied franchises, all-rounders and experiments is not able to reap the benefits in the desirable way.

 

Now to Dinesh Karthik of whose peculiar position in the team we’d mentioned in an earlier post too. It’s being said that in that crunch match against Pakistan he was preferred over the inimitable Rishabh Pant due to his ‘experience’. If that is so, then his ‘experience’ as a batsman who can dramatically change the course of a game with his furious shots must have weighed more than his ‘experience’ as a wicketkeeper. And if that is so, then why he was sent after all the bowling all-rounders to face just five balls when India needed seven runs of that. But for Pandya’s six in the fourth ball of the last over the match could’ve ended in any direction. The Indian bowlers did a great job to get the Pakistan side all out to a total less than 150 and with Team India’s batting strength it should’ve been an easy chase. But for the ‘superseding’ experimentation you know…!  Anyway, a lot has to be been seen yet in this tournament. An upbeat Afghanistan routed a crisis-laden Sri Lanka in the first match of the tournament and has emerged as a strong contender for the Super-4 stage from Group-A with Bangladesh being the third team. India is set to face Hong Kong next before proceeding to the Super-4 and we can expect one more encounter of the rarest variety, India Vs Pakistan, at that stage, and a possible third one if both teams make it to the Final.

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