With the World T20 in Australia less than one year away team India looking to establish a young side for the mega event, their defeat against Bangladesh in the first T20I on Sunday came as a ringing bell to many cricket pundits and those in administration.
Bangladesh trounced India for the first time in a T20I encounter. It went on to add they were here to win the series with a ‘nothing to lose approach,’ a possible mind game Bangladesh tried to do India away with ahead of the remaining two games of the series.
India, on the other hand, rejected claims that it was under any pressure ahead of the second game of the series that will be played in Rajkot. Indian wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Tuesday added that the team was not under any pressure from the management.
“Things can go wrong for a couple of matches, but there is no such thing called pressure from team management on players regarding this. What is important is we don’t repeat mistakes that we did in the previous game,” Chahal said.
Although Chahal added that the team might not change its playing combination for the second game, experts believe the men in blue can bring in a few tactical changes to overpower the mistakes that undid them in the first match.
Former Indian bowlerZaheer Khanpredicted that Rohit Sharma might opt to go into the second game with wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson in place of Rishabh Pant. Zaheer added that change will be merely a tactical one and might not have anything to do with Pant’s performance.
“India might want to play Samson ahead of Pant. The decision will be to overturn what happened in the first game and not in terms of what Rishabh Pant has done with his batting. We have a stack of left-handers in the side, so the call might be taken to break that formation. Mahmadullah was using off-spinners when two-left handers were batting in the middle. So this call can come but will be purely a tactical call,” Zaheer said.
Another change that is being predicted in India’s playing XI in Rajkot is the Rajasthan IPL bowler Rahul Chahar making it to the side in place of Washington Sundar. Again, though Sundar did not have an as bad outing as others in the side in the first game, India is likely to field two leg-spinners in Rajkot in Yuzvendra Chahal and Rahul Chahar.
Although KL Rahul, Krunal Pandya, and Khaleel Ahmed also received a lot of flak on social media for their performances, the trio is likely to keep their places. India is unlikely to tinker with its top-order combination with the right-handed top-order batsman, Shreyas Iyerlooking solid in the middle-order unless a change is forced. Similarly, India will want Khaleel to rise to the occasion and lead the bowling attack in the absence of senior bowlers and is likely to keep in a spot.
Shikhar Dhawan’s cautious approach in T20 format at the top of the order and, more specifically, in the power-play will be a thing to be concerned about for the hosts. Dhawan, who played 14 dot balls in his 42 balls 41 runs inning in the first game, played seven dot deliveries inside power-play. Dhawan tops the list of openers with the highest number of dot balls played during the power-play since 2014. He consumes (48.76%) of his deliveries in the power-play without scoring a run.
So it won’t be surprising if reports of Dhawan being reprimanded by the team management or skipper over his approach emerges over the course of the next few days.
Bangladesh, on the other side, looked sorted in all the three departments despite their ace bowler Mustafizur Rahman not bowling out his quota of four overs. And the side is unlikely to tamper with the playing XI of their one of the most famous victory. They are expected to field the same XI in Rajkot.
After all the talk about the first game and probably playing a combination of both sides in the second game, there is another important factor that might play its part in the result of the next game — the weather. Rajkot is expected to witness “Very Very heavy rainfall’ on the match day as cyclone Maha’s threat loom on Rajkot. The ‘extremely cyclonic storm’ Maha is expected to hit the Gujarat coast on November 7 and can play spoilsport on the second T20I of the series.