NAPIER: A drastic change in approach is need of the hour for India but question remains if the likes of Umran Malik and Sanju Samson will be tested in third and final T20 against New Zealand here on Tuesday.
India were expected to try out a bunch of players after another World Cup debacle but if the team combination for the second T20 was any indication, they seemed reluctant to start with a clean slate.
Take out the individual brilliance of Suryakumar Yadav, the team would have struggled to post 160 on Sunday, a grim reminder of its travails in the World Cup Down Under.
India’s powerplay approach has been a major concern. Rishabh Pant was tried at the top with Ishan Kishan in the second game but the move did not work. Considering Pant’s class, one can expect him to fire in the series-decider.
Samson is another batter who can make instant impact but the team did not start with him.
Going by skipper Hardik Pandya’s post match comments, the management is unlikely to make too many changes for the third T20. India lead the series 1-0 with the series opener washed out.
“I don’t know (about changes for the next game). I’d like to give everyone in the squad a chance but it’s just one more game, so it’s a bit tough,” said Hardik, who is seen as the next full captain in the shortest format.
Shubman Gill was in the running for opening too in the absence of senior players but the team went ahead with two left-handers. He is likely to get his chances only in the ODI series to follow.
Pandya is keen on having more batters who can bowl in the playing eleven and Deepak Hooda has given him one option.
However, the biggest disappointment was the non-inclusion of Umran Malik in the first game. It has been proved that there is a pressing needed for an out and out pace bowler in T20 cricket and the New Zealand series is crucial to the development of the Jammu and Kashmir-based tearaway pacer.
In Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, Malik, who played three T20s earlier this year, should be exposed to the pressure of playing a top team and given a long run.
Playing his first game in a while, Yuzvendra Chahal showed why he should be a regular in the team but fellow wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav might only get to play the ODIs.
Facing a must win scenario, New Zealand will take the field without their skipper Kane Williamson who will miss the game to due to a pre-arranged medical appointment.
In his absence, the team will rely even more on opener Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips down the order to put the opposition under pressure.
The home bowlers leaked way too many runs in the death overs and they will be looking to correct that. New Zealand will also have to find a way to stop Surya, who is in the form of his life.
“Suryakumar played an in incredible innings out there. Everyone watched in amazement, some of the shots be played. We have had a few discussions already and we will have few more tomorrow before the game around how to combat him,” said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.
India: Hardik Pandya (c), Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik