NEW DELHI: Last year’s T20 World Cup debacle was considered the lowest point in Indian T20 cricket. The Board of Cricket of India (BCCI) was quick to make changes by making Rahul Dravid the head coach and Rohit Sharma was named captain of all formats after Virat Kohli. The changing of the guard promised an overhaul in the way India would approach their T20 cricket watching this ongoing T20 World Cup.
A semi-final this time around would sound better than being knocked out in the group stage, but there was no denying that the team’s management had taken a few steps back ahead of the World Cup after playing with new faces. for most of the year.
Dravid claimed that T20 cricket will now take a back seat with the next T20 World Cup in two years, but one cannot take their eyes off the performance of the T20 team over the next year.
TOI understands that a few veterans, who participated in this T20 World Cup, have already been told that their T20I career is almost over. There were too many players in their thirties in this tournament. Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have made the cut this year for the past four months. The biggest step would be to phase out big names like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Sources have told TOI that Rohit has been in constant contact with BCCI officials for some time over his future as India’s all-format captain. For Dravid, his plan consisted of three ICC events until 2023, starting with this T20 World Cup, the Test World Championship and culminating with the ODI World Cup in India next October-November.
It is learned that the focus is now solely on planning for the ODI World Cup. The team’s management learned the hard lesson of not playing against a stable team for a year. He doesn’t want to repeat the mistake next year. By the way, India would like the senior players from this T20 World Cup who are in contention for the ODI World Cup to be available for most ODI matches. There are a handful of T20I games that India will play next year. This would mean that the workload of these senior players could be managed by resting them from these games.
This opens up quite a few places in the configuration of the T20I. Hardik Pandya is the hot favorite for the top job.
If Rohit and Virat sit down with Karthik no longer being considered, the likes Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson might get their chance. KL Rahul is expected to return to his T20 hitting form soon to retain his spot. It will be interesting to see if Rishabh Pants up the batting order. Ishan Kishan was India’s favorite opener in T20 in the absence of Rohit and Rahul. If the team management believes Prithvi Shaw gathered off the field, it could also be considered. Samson is likely to be primed to play the finisher role like Karthik was supposed to here.
While much of the review has focused on the conservative batting approach, the bowling combination could also undergo a major shake-up. Jasprit Bumrah’s absence due to injury was mainly felt in Australia. But with the pacer struggling to maintain high octane cricket due to a dodgy back, Bumrah may have to drop a format. With the ODI World Cup approaching, he is unlikely to play too many T20 games for India. A call on his T20 future could be taken after the ODI World Cup.
Interestingly, Dravid and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey had started their stints having a specialist bowling attack for T20 until the team collapsed in the Asian Cup in September. India are likely to persist with Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik. Expect Washington Sundar play a major role in the future. Bhuvneshwar has dropped the list of ODI World Cup contenders. He could be around the T20 squad just to bring experience before the youngsters become finished products.