Former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja has lamented that Virat Kohi and co “pressed the panic button” even before the T20 World Cup 2021 game against New Zealand got underway. According to Jadeja, New Zealand were dominant over the Indians much before the toss in Dubai, which was evident in the Men in Blue's team selection.
With Suryakumar Yadav unfit for the game, India brought Ishan Kishan into the playing XI. However, he opened the innings with KL Rahul, while Rohit Sharma moved down to number three and captain Virat Kohli pushed himself down to number four.
Jadeja opined that India’s surprising moves clearly indicated they were unsure of their plans. In a debate on Cricbuzz, the former batter elaborated:
“New Zealand were dominant on India even before the game started. India pressed, what I could call the panic button, before the toss with the team they picked. Then, losing the toss was also a big setback. Obviously, that wasn’t in India’s hands. But the openers (Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul) who walked in were a surprise. There were more surprises at numbers three (Rohit Sharma) and four (Virat Kohli) as well."
"By the time New Zealand came out to bat, nothing was left in the game. There were only faint hopes, which also disappeared the way they bowled in the first six overs.”
The 50-year-old also lashed out at the Indian think-tank for playing “musical chairs” with the opening slot. He described the top-order batters as the star performers in any T20 line-up. Jadeja added:
“The simplest funda of T20 is that the top order should be your strongest suit. The best players bat at the top because there are only 120 balls. If you are unsure about it, then your starting on the wrong foot. The debate over the last few days was over Hardik Pandya’s bowling and whether Shardul Thakur should play. But they lost the plot with the confusion in the top order, which is the star power of any batting side in T20s.”
Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli all perished cheaply against New Zealand as India lost their first four wickets with only 48 on the board. They ended up posting 110 for 7.
See who is the 2021 T20 World Cup host here.
“The only positive for India was that Pandya bowled” - Virender Sehwag on India’s shocker against New Zealand
According to former India opener Virender Sehwag, it is difficult to find any positive from the team’s lacklustre showing against New Zealand. He pointed out that while Hardik Pandya bowling was a good sign, it came a little too late.
Sehwag said while reflecting on India’s loss against New Zealand:
“The only positive for India was that Pandya bowled. But it really won’t matter whether he bowls or not or even doesn’t play in the next few games.”
Rather surprisingly, Hardik Pandya came on to bowl against New Zealand. But by the time he took the ball, only the formalities remained as the Kiwis were in total control.