India vs West Indies: Windies seek bowling discipline in 2nd T20I
India vs West Indies 2nd T20I: India eye victory and improved fielding as visitors come to terms with conceding 23 extras in first matchUpdated: Dec 08, 2019 09:12 IST
Next stop of the three-match T20 action is further down south, at the Greenfield stadium in Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram. West Indies may struggle to spell or pronounce that right but more importantly, they would be happy their cricket wasn’t too far off the mark in the series opener. A number of batsmen brought their A-game to Hyderabad to give India a scare until Virat Kohli rose to the game to take India home.
Both sides need to sort out a few areas. First and foremost, they need to get their cooling-down sessions right. These three T20Is are cramped in a six-day window, making it resemble a congested leg of an IPL season. A three-day break between two games used to be the norm, with bilaterals in India involving vast travel. With the cricket calendar becoming busier, the extra rest day has become the first casualty.
Before Pollard’s team takes to the ground, the bowlers may need some visualisation sessions to undo the extras they conceded in the first match. There is little time for practice but West Indies know 23 extras—the third highest on India’s scoresheet—in a high-scoring encounter proved detrimental to their ambitions.
“Our discipline with the ball let us down. The 23 extras, where 14-15 of those were wide deliveries, mean extra balls and extra overs as well. When you give a class team, Indian batsmen of world class calibre, those extra deliveries, you are destined for trouble. Again, no-balls is something that we stress on as a non-negotiable and we bowled a few tonight. So, it’s something we need to look at,” said West Indies captain Kieron Pollard after Friday’s loss.
The big man wasn’t even in the West Indies’ scheme of things before there was an administrative overhaul. Pollard is now captain and speaks to media, as if reiterating to himself, that he is here to turn things around. “You know, you can find negatives in any situation. But that is not what life is about. It is about positivity, about going forward and looking forward,” he said.
“And I must complement our young batters, the way we they went about and executed (in Hyderabad). Young Lewis at the start with his intent. Shimron Hetmyer getting some runs, and Brandon King, I guess (these are) exciting times for us. We are not going to get everything right overnight, but it’s work in progress. I am a pretty contented captain. Again, we have conversations and move on,” he said.
For India, the glaring shortcoming came on the field. Four, perhaps five catches—if you want to be harsh—went abegging when the heat was on. KL Rahul said it was due to low flood-lights at Hyderabad. “I don’t think it’s the dimensions—the bigger side or the smaller side. It’s just that the lights are pretty low and sometimes you lose the ball under the lights,” he said.
Strangely, India did not practice under lights during either of the two pre-match training sessions in Hyderabad. Rahul downplayed it, saying there was enough IPL experience to fall back on.
“We know we didn’t practice under lights but we know the lights are low and we tried to get our fielding practice done and try to give our best and sometimes you still lose the ball. That’s how it is. I mean we’ve played here before; we’ve played here for years. We know what to expect and yeah, as a team we don’t complain about things like this,” he said.
Captain Kohli had spoken about ‘not being very good while batting first’ in T20 cricket, and ‘defending low totals’ as well. “Those are two things that we really need to focus on,” he had said. The team may want to challenge themselves with a bat-first approach in one of the remaining two games, unless the dew factor is significant.
Kohli’s heroics while chasing don’t surprise anymore, but KL Rahul’s touch will boost the confidence. Rahul kept India in the hunt when Kohli was struggling with timing in the first half of the chase at Hyderabad. With Shikhar Dhawan out injured, this is Rahul’s big chance. Is he eyeing a World Cup spot? Too early, says Rahul. “It’s a long way away, honestly. I got an opportunity to bat at the top of the order after a couple of series. So was looking forward to making the best use of it. Generally had a good outing, a good stint in the middle and hopefully look to do more of the same thing and not to worry about October, next year. There are lots of games to go (before the World Cup).”
Manish Pandey was rushed back into the side after his wedding but he may still have to play the waiting game, with India looking to give Shreyas Iyer a longer run in the middle order and also, keen on playing six bowlers. On the bowling front, Washington Sundar was under the pump with West Indies going berserk. Yuzvendra Chahal, despite conceding a few, created the most chances. India, however, could be tempted to bring in Kuldeep Yadav; quality leg-spin clearly being an area of weakness for West Indies. India may also have to consider if they want to ring in Mohammed Shami’s extra pace at some stage, as Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are similar bowlers.