And India lose again. If the first game of the series against South Africa at Dharmashala exposed the limitations of Indian bowling, the second was about how poor Indian batting line-up can perform.
India, on paper, has one of the best batting line-ups in Twenty-20 cricket and hosts the world’s premier Twenty-20 competition, The Indian Premier League (IPL).
However it is disheartening to see how miserable have India been in the shortest format of professional cricket. India, have won only one out of last five matches since emerging runners up at Twenty-20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Their sole win was against lowly Zimbabwe and India have lost against England, Zimbabwe and South Africa in this period. At times, India’s batting has collapsed, whilst on other occasions the bowling has been dismantled.
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Therefore, there is a need for Indian team management to tweak some tactics and possibly bring new faces into the team. In this article, we look at the prospects who can bring about change in India’s fortunes in this format of the game.
1. R Vinay Kumar: The Karnataka Ranji skipper is one of the most prominent pacemen of Indian cricket. The quickie led Karnataka to two consecutive Ranji Trophies. He also became a vital cog as Mumbai Indians won the Indian Premier League.
He also captains Belgavi Panthers in the Karnataka Premier League and is handy with bat as well. He can bat at a strike rate of just over 120 in domestic Twenty-20 cricket and has also taken 146 wickets in this format.
However, when he has been given a chance at international level previously he has struggled to back his performances with numbers- he took ten wickets in nine International Twenty-20 games with an average of 24.7 and economy rate of 7.84. However Vinay Kumar, for all his experience, can be an asset to Indian bowling.
2. Mohammad Shami: If Indian pace bowling has lacked one name, it’s Mohammad Shami. After injuring himself during ICC Cricket World Cup down under, Shami had to undergo a knee surgery which forced him out of national set-up for over four months.
He is also set to miss the first three ODI’s against South Africa. He has taken 47 wickets in 40 Twenty-20 matches he has played so far at an average of 21.38 and economy rate of 7.31 runs per over. A fully fit Shami can become the much needed leader of Indian bowling.
3. Ravindra Jadeja: If you’re asked about an immensely talented player who hasn’t lived up to his potential, Ravindra Jadeja is the answer. He was a part of the national setup since Under-19 level and was one of the breakout stars of the first season of Indian Premier League.
He was crucial in Rajasthan Royals winning the tournament and Shane Warne called him a ‘Rockstar’ for his elegant style. He has a very good IPL record but hasn’t lived up to his potential while playing for India. He is a good all-rounder with an experience of over 150 Twenty-20 matches, scoring over 1500 runs at a strike-rate of 123.94 and has 94 scalps to his name. He is the best fielder in India and has won matches just with his fielding. If he can live up to his potential and get a spot back into the team, Indian team can become more complete.
4. Ishant Sharma: What Indian bowling lacks today is a competent leader and Ishant Sharma is just that. He is the most experienced Indian paceman and if he gets going, he is treat to watch.
He, like Shami, is not at his best while playing Twenty-20 cricket but is the experienced bowler Indian attack needs. He has taken nearly 70 wickets in 86 games he has played and thrives on surfaces offering a fair share of bounce. If he works on his fielding and becomes more consistent in his bowling, he can be crucial for India’s fortunes.
5. Yuvraj Singh: Where to start about him? The player, a champion in his own right, is regarded as one of the best limited overs middle order batsman of his generation. He has been a world champion twice and is a big match player.
He is one of those cricketers whose presence in the dressing room can inspire the whole team and on his day, he is simply unstoppable. He is also very good Twenty-20 player.
He is the only batsman to hit 6 sixes in an International Twenty-20 over and was one of the best players as India won inaugural Twenty-20 World Cup in South Africa.
In his glorious career, the southpaw has played 158 Twenty-20 matches and has scored nearly 3589 runs. He has also demonstrated his all-round capabilities with nearly 100 wickets in this format. He is also an incredible fielder in the point region.
His unfortunate illness and subsequent inconsistent form has kept him out of the team but if he finds his form and gets back into the team, India can become one of the best teams in this format of the game.