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T20 World Cup: Question hour

Virat Kohli dislikes “outside talk”. But after India’s embarrassing 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup on Sunday, India and its captain cannot duck all such “talk”. While India may still stage a turnaround in the tournament, The Telegraph raises a few questions for the skipper…
Time for captain Virat Kohli to put his thinking cap on.
Time for captain Virat Kohli to put his thinking cap on.
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The Telegraph   |   Published 25.10.21, 04:02 AM

Why no Ishan Kishan?

If the toss-up was between Ishan and Suryakumar Yadav, it’s difficult to fathom why the latter was preferred. Both the players were mostly off-colour in the second leg of the IPL, which preceded the T20 World Cup. But Ishan rediscovered his touch in emphatic fashion in the closing stages of the IPL. The same cannot be said about Suryakumar. Ishan’s last three T20 innings, including one in a warm-up game against England, have seen scores of 50 not out, 84, 70 not out. Compare that to Suryakumar’s last three T20 outings with the bat — 82, 8, 38 not out. The choice looked quite simple. 

Why play Bhuvneshwar Kumar?

Bhuvneshwar, in his prime, was undoubtedly an asset for Team India. But the Bhuvneshwar of today is just a shadow of his past self. The seamer has not been in rhythm for quite some time. He had a less-than-ordinary IPL, taking just 6 wickets from 11 games at an economy of 7.97. He wasn’t impressive in the warm-up matches before the World Cup either. If captain Kohli had to play three seamers, like he did on Sunday, basic cricketing logic suggests that it should have been Shardul Thakur, who was in terrific wicket-taking form in the IPL. Looks like a wrong choice, again.

Why no Ravichandran Ashwin?

The world calls him the best spinner in current international cricket, but the Indian team management has reduced him to being the best spinner who doesn’t get to play in current international cricket. A pressure-packed World Cup match versus Pakistan, that too a campaign opener… If you think you don't need Ashwin's experience in such a game, then it’s a decision somewhere between unnecessary bravado and foolishness. Varun Chakravarthy is good, but he is no Ashwin. Not yet.

Why insist on Hardik Pandya?

It seems even Hardik Pandya doesn’t have the immeasurable amount of confidence in himself that Virat Kohli, or the team management, has in the all-rounder who doesn’t bowl. Kohli says Hardik is good enough to play as a batsman. While that is true, it comes with the rider that the man has to be in form. In a World Cup, it’s unwise to bet on a horse which has been limping for quite some time now.

For the record, Hardik’s last five scores before Sunday’s game were 14 not out, 12 not out, 10, 5 not out and 17.

Why does Jadeja get to bat ahead of Hardik?

If Hardik the batsman is thought to be capable enough, why did the Indian think-tank send Ravindra Jadeja ahead of him on Sunday? With India neither having enough runs on the board nor a good run rate, one would have thought that Hardik, who is a better striker of the ball than Jadeja, would get to bat above the left-handed all-rounder. But that was not the case. Jadeja came in at No. 6 and scored 13 off 13 balls with one boundary. Did it help India’s cause?

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