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T20 World Cup: ‘Versatile’ Team India hold the aces

Team's focus will obviously be on ticking remaining boxes and trying to iron out flaws which threatened to hurt the side
India pacer Arshdeep Singh during training in Guwahati on Saturday.
India pacer Arshdeep Singh during training in Guwahati on Saturday.
PTI picture

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 02.10.22, 02:55 AM

Victory in three matches on the trot since the reversal in Mohali last month is certainly helping Team India in their preparation for the T20 World Cup beginning on October 16.

Ahead of the World Cup, these remaining T20Is against South Africa — the one in Guwahati on Sunday followed by the next in Indore on Tuesday — are the two final competitive appearances for Rohit Sharma and his teammates. Their focus would obviously be on ticking the remaining boxes and trying to iron out the flaws which threatened to hurt the side.

But Jasprit Bumrah’s recurring back injury that ruled him out of the ongoing series and persisting doubts over his participation in the showpiece event in Australia may affect the team’s plans and mindset.

Players nowadays talk a lot about the need to control the controllable. And that’s what India’s bowling group should also be practising. Their concentration should be on accomplishing the task ahead of them without thinking of Bumrah’s availability for the World Cup.

On paper, though, India aren’t a one-man army bowling-wise as even a youngster like Arshdeep Singh has proved he’s capable enough to deliver at the highest level.

Besides,  in the remainder of this T20I series, India shouldn’t be missing Bumrah much, particularly if one takes into account the South African batsmen’s poor technique against the moving ball.

The pitch at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati also tends to assist quicks. So if the one for Sunday’s game too has similarities with the one of the opening game in Thiruvananthapuram, the likes of Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep may torment the Proteas batsmen once again.

The Indian team management had come under criticism for its tendency to experiment a little too much, which it did during this year’s Asia Cup. That experimentation hasn’t been on the fore since the Australia T20Is, though “versatility and flexibility” in the squad matters a lot for head coach Rahul Dravid.

“We’re quite comfortable that we’ve got all the skills that allow us to play different combinations and different kinds of XIs based on the wickets and the opposition.

“You need to have that little bit of versatility and flexibility in your squad that allows you to change things,” Dravid said on Saturday.

However, unless there’s another sudden injury or niggle to anyone, India are unlikely to tinker with the XI for their penultimate T20I clash before the World Cup. It is the time to settle down, not chop and change.

Today's match

■ India vs South Africa, 2nd T20I, 7pm, live on Star Sports Network

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