Virat Kohli’s India boosted by bowling depth ahead of New Zealand Twenty20
The idiom embarrassment of riches has been used millions of times to describe the quality of Indian batting.
But in the current scenario it won’t look like a misfit if it’s used for the bowlers as well. Such is the depth in the bowling department – be it pace or spin – that selectors will have to make some tough choices in future.
When Virat Kohli & Co looks to seal the T20 series against New Zealand here on Saturday, the focus will be as much on the exploits of the batters as on the bowlers.
While in the first match of the series Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma hogged the limelight, the bowlers slipped under the radar despite the shutout of the Black Caps, recording a convincing 53-run win in Delhi.
From Jasprit Bumrah to Yuzvendra Chahal, all have grabbed the opportunities with both hands. Bumrah and Chahal bowled crucial spells in the last ODI in Kanpur to help India clinch the series.
Kuldeep Yadav has impressed whenever he has got the ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s emergence as a limited-overs bowler continues and Axar Patel too has found his rhythm given a steady run.
DEPTH IN BOWLING
With the 2019 World Cup around 18 months away, the Indian think tank’s decision to give potential suitors an opportunity to prove their worth is bearing fruit. While in the batting department a couple of middle-order slots are still up for grabs, the bowling coffers look full to the brim.
Sitting on the sidelines are Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, all of whom boast of a good record in the shorter versions.
Left-arm spinner Patel, who played his part in a comfortable win in the first T20 on Wednesday, feels skipper Kohli is showing lot of confidence in the bowlers, which is allowing them to express themselves.
“He gives you confidence to bowl, gives us freedom to decide our field placing and the line we want to bowl. If it doesn’t work, he provides insight to get it right. It’s good he trusts our strategies and that boosts your confidence further as you can bowl with a free mind,” said Patel, on the eve of the second T20 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday.
CHAHAL LOOKS SOLID
His spin partner Chahal is another bowler who has improved immensely under the tutelage of Kohli, who is Chahal’s skipper at Royal Challengers Bangalore as well. Chahal has credited Kohli with helping him settle down.
Featuring in back-to-back series has boosted the leggie’s confidence. He looks at ease while bowling, varies pace and has emerged a strike bowler in the middle overs for India. His dismissals of Colin Munro and Kane Williamson in the Kanpur ODI changed the course of the series-decider. He was mighty effective in the first T20 as well.
On the batting front too, at the moment, India seem to be well-placed. The only interesting aspect will be how young batsman Shreyas Iyer does if he gets a hit. The Mumbai player didn’t get to bat in the first match.
The Rajkot pitch looks flat and full of runs, but skipper Virat Kohli will hope his bowlers once again come up with the goods to back the batsmen.