New Delhi: Former England skipper Nasser Hussain while decoding the reason behind India’s failure to shine in the ongoing T20 World Cup spoke about the need to play a fearless brand of cricket. And this will be the biggest challenge in front of new head coach Rahul Dravid as he looks to build a fearless white-ball squad.
The Men in Blue have been near to perfect when it comes to bilateral series in the white-ball format but is in ICC events that the flaws come out in the open, and it is fair to say that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 showed exactly how traditional India’s approach to the shortest format has been.
Choosing players for their performances in the 50-over format, selecting half-fit players, and going by reputation did not augur well for the Men in Blue as they bowed out of the tournament in the Super 12 stage.
However, what happened in the past cannot be undone. But with a new coach in Rahul Dravid, and a new T20I captain in Rohit Sharma, it is time for India to adapt to the changing times in the shorter formats of the game. Rohit is known to be a bloke with calm shoulders on his head, and he is known for giving players a long and consistent run.
Rohit and Dravid must ensure the Men in Blue play the T20I format in the manner it is supposed to be played — going hell for leather from ball one. The upcoming New Zealand series should be a chance to experiment with a new strategy where every batter looks to play their natural game rather than waiting for the death overs to go berzerk.
Under Ravi Shastri, the mindset in the longest format truly changed and the side is now well equipped to win in any condition. However, the white-ball format definitely needs a re-think looking at how there are two World Cups in the next two years — T20 WC in 2022 and 50-over WC in 2023. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, and Rishabh Pant are all players who can change the game any minute and they should be given the freedom to play their natural game, and not curb their instincts just to ensure the side posts a “safe” total.
If Dravid’s coaching stint for India A and U-19 side is anything to go by, it is safe to say, that he will give the team freedom to play their own brand of cricket. Having left the T20I captaincy, it is not known how Virat Kohli wants to manage his workload in the shortest format.
The former T20I skipper needs to ensure that he conveys his decision to the team management at the earliest so that the planning for next year’s World Cup can start. Having left captaincy, the batter can truly come into his own in the shortest format and be the perfect fiddle at number three for Rohit and Rahul. Dravid has nurtured players like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Avesh Khan among others and the head coach needs to ensure a smooth transition of these youngsters in at least the T20I squad.
The former India skipper needs to realise the importance of having game-changers in the shortest format, and hence the management needs to move over reputations, and look at new blood especially in the T20I format. Kohli and Rohit will not be around for a long period of time, so grooming one leader apart from these two should also be on Dravid’s mind.
Hardik Pandya’s performance was there for everyone to see in the World Cup, so having a fast-bowling all-rounder backup is the need of the hour. Venkatesh Iyer has been selected for the New Zealand series, and he needs to be given a consistent run.
England faced a debacle in the 2015 50-over World Cup, however, after the tournament, the side realised the need for change and one needs to see how the country has gone on to become the biggest powerhouse in white-ball cricket today. One can just hope that India will follow the template and come out all guns blazing in the 2022 T20 World Cup.