What should be India’s playing XI for the second T20
India were supposed to play four T20 Internationals to overcome their disappointment of the lost home series against England, with a top spot in the World T20 rankings in the beckoning.
India did well by defeating England in the first T20, but lost the plot in the second match with a nail biting finish, which saw Morgan help the English side sail over the finishing line.
Now it was down to the remaining two T20 International against arch-rivals Pakistan, a contest which pumps up even those don’t follow cricket. The Indian team didn’t start too well, losing a game which though went down to the wire, and was marred by a poor batting performance by the much fancied Indian batting line-up. India fielded a different unit in each of the three games, which is a clear sign of India’s failure to conclude the best XI at their disposal.
India batted well in the two games against England, but failed to contain them, while on the contrary, the story against Pakistan was different. India failed to get a decent total on the board in-spite of getting a bright start, a classic case of a middle order collapse.
So, being an ardent Indian supporter, I cannot see India suffering and thought of helping them devise their best XI for the second T20 International, which can help them level the series and bring back the smiles to the billions of Indians on the fag end of the year.
I would stick with the opening combination Of Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane. Both have done particularly well and there is something between Gambhir and Pakistan, which helps bring out the best in the stalwart left hander.
Coming in at number three is the future of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli. He has been a shade out of touch, but he can hit back to form in no time, and once he does, there is no stopping the current best batsman in the Indian side.
Yuvraj Singh is the unanimous choice at number four. The comeback king has been devastating with the bat and even better with the ball for the Indian side, giving crucial breakthroughs at just the right time.
I still feel MS Dhoni should occupy the number five spot if there are about five or more overs to go. He can get in for an over and then launch a brutal attack on the opposition. Though the form is not on his side, he is still capable and this is his format and his role.
Suresh Raina, one of the biggest hitters in the Indian side should occupy the finisher’s spot, giving India the much needed impetus in the death overs.
The toughest call is for the number seven spot. This is the position which has prompted the most debate for a long time now. I understand India hated Jadeja after what happened in the last over in the last game, but I would stick with Ravindra Jadeja and promote him to number seven, though I still feel this is not the best slot for him, given he takes a couple of overs to get in and then shift gears, but given the squad and the circumstance, he is the best fit for me for this spot.
Rohit Sharma is an absolute waste at number 7. He is a pure middle order bat. Also, I am an advocate of 5 bowler theory in at least the T20s. If your six batsmen cannot last and score runs in the stipulated 20 overs, you should rather lose than expect a cameo in every game from the number 7.
Also, a bowler is ought to have an off day and this is where it is a must to go in with 5 specialist bowlers and an all rounder to back things up.
The number eight spot belongs to Ravichandran Ashwin. This is the format he has excelled in and gave him an Indian berth and he making the bench doesn’t make sense to me. He can be handy with the bat too in case Dhoni wants stronger batting lower down the order and he needs no elaboration for his T20 bowling exploits.
Number nine now seemed to be fixed for a long time, with the impressive Bhuvneshwar Kumar not only bowling his heart out, but winning the hearts of cricket lovers and has made a strong case for selection in other formats as well. He is being touted to be the next big thing in Indian fast bowling, but I feel this puts unnecessary pressure on the lad and he deserves a little time before any conclusions are drawn.
Number 10 spot should go to the tall lanky Delhi fast bowler Ishant Sharma. He was impressive in the last game and his aggression is a much needed boost for the Indian side.
Given the squad, Ashok Dinda is the deserved number 11, though I feel India have better fast bowlers at their disposal, especially in the given format.
NOTE – I always wanted Rayadu to get a chance, but the only vacant spot number 7 would neither be ideal for the man, nor for the team.
Also, I feel the injury to Irfan Pathan is costing India badly. He would have been an ideal number 7, with India then being in a position to play two regular spinners.
India XI - Gambhir, Rahane, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Raina, Jadeja, Ashwin, Kumar, Sharma, Dinda
What do you guys reckon?