Friday, March 31, 2023

Lessons from India on the way to the World Cup India vs South Africa |

India Had A Lot To Think About After South Africa Series

India had a lot to think about after South Africa series

Require ‘Left’ at the top

In a world where India have actively opted to bat aggressively over the course of 20 overs and admit to putting in as much effort, Ishan Kishan makes an interesting case for himself in a top-order otherwise full of right-handed batsmen. He brings up a friendly match-up against leg-spinners and left-arm spinners, as he showed during the series against Keshav Maharaj (67 runs off 25 balls).

parameters Prey Run balls average strike rate 4s / 6s Bow%
vs pace 4 115 98 28.75 117.35 13/4 17.30%
vs spin 1 91 39 91 233.33 8/7 38.50%

His Powerplay strike rate in this series may not align with India’s ideas of being aggressive from the start, but he provides an excellent outlet for quick runs through the middle against spin. Although he has shown a weakness for balls outside the off-stump that can be exploited by left-arm fast bowlers early in the innings, he has been dismissed only once in the powerplay – in a washed-out fixture in Bengaluru. Kishan hit the most fours and sixes (21 and 11) in the series, and finished fifth on the strike rate chart – the only opener in the top five.

a drop remains a question mark

Dravid refused to read too much into the performances in the same series, but perhaps Shreyas Iyer missed a golden opportunity to show his wares at No. With Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul expected to take the opening slot in the World Cup, Shreyas had a chance to make his mark at the #3 spot – a position for which he will take on Virat Kohli.

Though Shreyas has been a victim of trying to hit even in some tough batting conditions against South Africa, there are a few red flags – against pace and wrist spin – that make his case.

The extra bounce and big square boundaries on offer in Australia will come as further hurdles for the top-order batsman, who is yet to get on top of the rising deliveries.

Shreyas Iyer’s struggle against pace in this series

parameters Prey Run balls average strike rate 4s / 6s Bow%
vs pace 3 42 49 14 85.71 3/1 8.30%
vs spin 1 52 27 52 192.59 1/6 25.90%

Dinesh Karthik’s resurrection is real

In a revealing analogy, Dravid said that he told his players to start knocking on doors for the World Cup, not just knocking – and Karthik has really hit it hard. India’s mind-set might just feel right to bring in him as a death overs enforcer and a specialist pace hitter – which he showed a perfect glimpse on two occasions in this series. On a tough pitch in Cuttack, he got off to a poor start but scored 14 off 30 for 21, scoring 22 runs off seven balls in the last few overs to push India late. In Rajkot, he scored 55 off 27 in the death overs, including 36 off 16 balls against the pace.

Karthik’s resurgence is real and accepted, but it is going to be difficult to adjust to the World Cup. As a batsman at No. 6 or 7, does he follow in place of Axar Patel, the other spinner in this series and likely Ravindra Jadeja in Australia? This will leave India with only five bowling options, including Hardik Pandya, who has just resumed his bowling duties for the entire season of the IPL and a few matches in this series. Or has Karthik done enough to push first-choice keeper Rishabh Pant to the bench?

Brilliant Performance By Bhuvneshwar Kumar In The Powerplay

Brilliant performance by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the powerplay

True value of Rishabh Pant’s numbers

The numbers may tell you otherwise, but the answer to that second question above is leaning toward the negative. Pant, one of the few all-format cricketers for India, and now a full-time IPL captain, has been performing well in T20Is by his high standards – an average of 23.15 and a strike rate of 123.91 in 48 matches. This is grounds for considering his position, but Dravid brushed off any such fears: “For us he is certainly a very big part of our plans.”

Benching him brings with it various complications for India. This would mean that they will be without their only left-hander in the top order who can also act as a floater to disrupt the match-up at any point of the innings. With a clear change in India’s batting philosophy, Dravid offered a glimpse of the true value of Pant’s numbers.

“I thought he had a really good IPL. It might not have looked good on average, but I thought the strike rate was really good. He wanted to take it up a bit, which he was probably doing three years ago. Tha .. . that number. We are trying to hope that we can get those numbers from them internationally.”

Pant scored 162.66 runs in the 2019 season before seeing a decline in 2020 and 2021 at 113.95 and 128.52 respectively. But this year, though the runs were short, he managed to bring the strike rate back to 151.79. But those figures did not translate into matches in South Africa, where he scored just 58 runs in four innings.

Dravid offered, “In the middle overs when you’re asking people to play a slightly more aggressive brand of cricket, want to take the game a little bit further, it’s too much to judge on the basis of just two or three matches.” It is difficult.”

India are happy to ignore their shortcomings in the national colors so far, in exchange for a more consistent power play in the middle that currently shines for the Delhi Capitals.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is in charge of the powerplay

In Vizag, when the pitch was two-paced and there was swing on offer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled an unsurpassed 3 for 10 in the powerplay. It’s the kind of initial impetus with the ball – through skill, swing and myriad variations from the experienced bowler – that India can rely on, while Jasprit Bumrah returns to the World Cup with Harshal Patel to carry the burden of the death overs. Huh.

Most PP wickets for India fast bowlers in T20Is since 2021

bowers over wickets average sr Is
Bhuvneshwar 41 12 18.75 20.5 5.49
bumrah 13 4 15.5 19.5 4.77
Avesh 9 3 16.33 18 5.44
Shami 8 2 30 24 7.5
Harshal 6 2 19.5 18 6.5

South Africa missed out on Aiden Markram at the top, and went ahead with Bhuvneshwar’s expertise. South Africa head coach Mark Boucher admitted, “Bhuvi was special throughout the series. He kept us under pressure throughout the powerplay.”

Four of Bhuvneshwar’s six wickets in the series came in the powerplay where he conceded only 3.56 per over – an early sign that he is ready to hand over the keys to that bowling phase of the game.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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