T20 World Cup 2021: “Play a leg-spinner and bat first” – Sunil Gavaskar’s advice to Team India for Scotland match

India v Afghanistan - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
India v Afghanistan - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021

Sunil Gavaskar has advised India to play a leg-spinner and bat first if they win the toss in their crucial match against Scotland in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

With two losses and a win from their three Group 2 matches, India rely on net run rate (NRR) and other results to stand a chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

Sunil Gavaskar believes team selection for India will be crucial against Scotland as the latter have struggled against quality spin bowling. The former national captain hinted at the inclusion of Rahul Chahar, the sole leg-spinner in the squad.

“Team selection will be the key, and because the Scots rarely get to play top-class spin bowling, it may be a good idea to go in with three spinners, one of whom should be a leg spinner. Not only are good leg spinners a rarity they are also invariably slower through the air and thus tough for the batter to use pace off the pitch."
“Often, when the ball is released above the eyeline, the best of batsmen take a little time to read the length as their head has moved up a fraction instead of being still. So, a good leg spinner will always be able to get the wicket dot ball which is priceless in this form of the game,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column for Times of India.

The detailed T20 World Cup fixtures are available here.

Gavaskar praised India’s aggressive approach with the bat against Afghanistan. He opined that it would be a good idea for India to go against the tide and bat first if they won the toss.

“What India’s batsmen need also is to shed any inhibitions and literally go for broke, as the saying is. A big margin of victory improves the net run rate, and huge losses to Pakistan and New Zealand have hurt India’s net run rate. So, the necessity to win big."
“India must look to bat first like against Afghanistan and bat in a similar fashion. Another big win will put pressure on Afghanistan and New Zealand when they face each other on Sunday,” the 72-year-old added.

India’s only T20I against Scotland was their opening encounter in the T20 World Cup in 2007, which resulted in a washout. Having won all their matches in the qualifying round for the Super 12s, Scotland have suffered a hat-trick of defeats in Group 2.

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Listless India have hurt fans in the first two matches: Sunil Gavaskar

Qualification for a semifinal berth still looks bleak for India. However, Sunil Gavaskar reckons that the Virat Kohli-led unit must make up for the disappointment of the big losses against Pakistan and New Zealand. He feels India must make up for the hurt they have caused the fans.

“Whether India qualify or not, they must be seen as going all out for it, for that is one sure way to make up for the disappointment of the losses. This is a sport where nothing is guaranteed, but the sight of a listless Indian team in the losses has hurt the avid follower who wants to see his heroes give it everything even if they eventually go down,” Sunil Gavaskar further added.

India return to the Dubai International Stadium to play Scotland in a night game on Friday. They are yet to win a game at this venue.

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Edited by Diptanil
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