NAGPUR: Fresh from shocking defeats in Asia Cup, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma had nonchalantly said he has found ’90-95 percent’ core of his team for the World Cup. Cut to a couple of weeks later, lively talks on India’s death bowling are still afloat. India’s derailment in the death overs twice in this month means the auditions for death over specialists are well and truly on.
The lack of penetration against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup and against Australia on Tuesday would force the skipper to rethink on his ‘experiment template’ as the time for the T20 World is counted.
Australia have announced their arrival in top gear in Mohali. To stop their juggernaut, the Indian think-tank may go back to their tested bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Deepak Chahar, who are in scheme of things for the World T20 – to level the 3-match series at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA), Jamtha, on Friday.
Heads are bound to move upwards on the match day as both teams had to skip practice sessions owing to intermittent showers on Thursday. However, the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Nagpur, has not issued any warning of heavy rainfall for Friday. “During the evening hours, chances of showers are less likely. Even if it happens, the rainfall won’t be for a long duration,” they told TOI.
With international cricket returning to Jamtha after almost three years, the VCA has taken a leaf out of Eden Gardens’ book by having covers for the entire ground and a large team (80+ groundsmen) to manage the covers.
Looking at the record in Nagpur, the team batting first has an advantage. Out of twelve T20Is played, nine have been won by the team batting first. However, as the soil factor starts coming into play, chasing becomes a bit tricky.
While batting has been exceptional, India’s bowling attack, in absence of Bumrah and off-colored Bhuvneshwar Kumar, looks also-ran. And when 200+ are easily conceded like India did in Mohali, the management needs to fix every nut and bolt to plug the leakage of runs.
Bumrah and Harshal Patel have come back from injuries and need match time to get into the groove. While Harshal got the feel, Bumrah was on the bench in the last encounter. The Indian bowling department would look promising when Bumrah and Harshal would form a 4-bowler pace attack. And Australians will be wary of such a contrasting combo. The presence of Bumrah also becomes important considering the weather factor that may come into play.
It would be interesting if the management gives another go to home-boy Umesh Yadav, who was expensive in Mohali, ahead of Chahar or Bumrah. Chahar had recorded 6 for 7 runs in the 2019 T20I against Bangladesh at Jamtha. This happens to be the second-best figures in T20Is.
The way Indian batters are firing on all guns, they would be eager to make it count once again. On the other hand, Australians would like to continue from where they left in Mohali. It would become interesting, when India, having world’s best batters with Suryakumar Yadav becoming 3rd in T20 rankings, would be made to chase.
On the face of it, it looks Rohit-led side will have advantage at Jamtha. However, India’s batting has not been tested under pressure in the recent past like the bowling in absence of Bumrah.