Will India be changing its lineup after the shocking loss to Pakistan? What do Fun88’s experts think?
After a shocking 10-wicket defeat against Pakistan, everyone seems to be asking whether India should change its team combination. While it’s true that lineups shouldn’t be changed as a reaction to a single loss, the loss to Pakistan showed some weaknesses in the Indian side, which need to be addressed if India wants to do well in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
In this blog, Fun88 will talk about the gaps in the Indian team and which squad changes India should be making to perform well in the T20 World Cup 2021.
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A relatively weak middle-order is a concern, especially when the top order fails
When it comes to white-ball cricket, India has relied too much on its top order in the last few years and not focused on building the middle order. Granted that India has some of the best top-order batsmen like Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, and Virat Kohli, but they are human, too, and they will fail on days.
It’s on those days that India needs a solid middle-order, which it lacks currently. This very lack of middle-order batsmen had cost India the semi-final match against New Zealand in the ODI World Cup two years ago.
It’s a little surprising that the management and selectors haven’t worked on the problem, as it continues to plague the team even now. While several new players have been used in the middle order, no one has consistently performed. In the Sunday match against Pakistan, India had Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, and Hardik Pandya.
Pant scored 39 runs, but the rest of them didn’t impress with the bat. Pandya struggled to hit his shots on a slow wicket, and it seemed that he was a bit rusty.
There’s been talks about including Ishan Kishan in the lineup because of his good form. In a recent warm-up match against England, Ishan scored a quickfire 70 runs off 46 balls, which proved decisive in India winning the match.
There’s no doubt that Ishan is a talented batsman, but he’s used to opening the innings. He shouldn’t be playing in the middle because he’s not used to doing so. But since Kishan is in good form lately, the team could make him open and move Rahul down the order.
However, even Rahul prefers to open; therefore, it’s not going to be an easy decision. The best would be to find a few capable middle-order batsmen rather than tweaking the current batting order.
Shardul Thakur must replace out-of-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar
It’s true that Bhuvenshwar Kumar is a talented swing bowler, but he failed to find his rhythm against Pakistan. Bhuvneshwar often struggles if he doesn’t find swing, and the slow pitches of the UAE and Oman, where the world cup is being played, are unlikely to offer much support to swing.
Therefore, it’s going to be tough for him to perform. Ideally speaking, Bhuvneshwar should get more chances because it’s always tough to drop a player based on his performance only in one match. That said, India has only four games left to play. Losing any more matches will affect India’s chances of reaching the knockouts.
Therefore, Bhuvneshwar should make way for the in-form Shardul Thakur. Apart from bowling, Shardul can bat, too. With him in the team, India will have two all-rounders, Jadeja and Shardul. That will make India’s team combination far more robust than it is currently.
Besides, Shardul has shown that he can perform very well under pressure. Remember how he scored 57 runs off just 36 deliveries against England at The Oval, which changed the whole match? Shardul also took important wickets to help India win the match. We do think that Shardul deserves to play in this lineup.
India needs a sixth bowling option to provide support to the other bowlers
Team India certainly needs a sixth bowler for situations when its other bowlers fail to click. In the match against Pakistan, no Indian bowler could create an impact. Besides, India only had five bowlers because Hardik Pandya had already said that he wasn’t going to bowl.
Of the five bowlers India had, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Jadeja, Varun Chakravarthy, and Bhuvneshwar, not one was able to make an impression, but Kohli had no other option. He had to use them.
This is when you need a sixth bowler. The team management should also think if it is worthwhile playing Hardik in the world cup if he’s not going to bowl. If he’s unable to bowl and is not 100% fit, then perhaps he can be replaced with Shardul. That will allow India to play even Bhunveshwar and have six bowlers in the team. All said and done, Indian squad needs the sixth bowling option. The management will have to decide how to get an additional bowler in the lineup and which player to drop.
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