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Radakrishnan Sreenivasan -

India's captain would be pointing out the negatives in his side despite the win against Pakistan

Thursday, June 04, 2021
Dhoni won't be thrilled

Playing warm up games are much like kicking off international friendlies. Winning is not the idea but a loss does raise a few eyebrows. More so if you have lost once again to your bogey team and would have been worse if Dhoni’s men had lost against Pakistan. Thankfully the game against Pakistan only highlighted how much the teams have drifted away from each other since the final of the 2007 world cup. 

There are a few things that have come out during India’s outing though. The non participation of Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan is not great news. While you can sit and discuss for hours about Zaheer’s participation in the Indian premier league and hence an injury, the fact remains that there was a game to be played; the left armer played and injured himself. Bad luck. The consequence hopefully will not be serious. I do understand that there are no clear favorites in T20 and Bangladesh spoilt Rahul Dravid’s party a couple of years back. Despite that, I would bank on India to go through to the super eights. Therefore a relatively easy first few days in England should act as a cushion for these two players’ non participation.

India's batsmen Rohit Sharma plays a shot against Pakistan in an ICC World Twenty20 warm-up match at the Oval in London. Sharma scored 80 runs in the match with India beating Pakistan by 9 wickets. © AFP
So what happens when Zaheer warms the bench? Ishant has been the man Dhoni has turned to in times of need. Being a part of the Indian team means the Delhi bowler is back in a team that knows how to win and the pressure is a lot lesser probably than what it was in the Kolkata dressing room. Or at least he looks far more comfortable in the company of the Indian team. He has been impressive in the middle overs and exposed the Pakistani inexperience in London. Having said that, if there’s any compelling case for rushing Zaheer at the earliest, it’s because of the way India has bowled at the death. A Seasoned campaigner like him with a man in form at the top will certainly help Dhoni’s plans.

In the batting department, Rohit Sharma and Virender Sehwag employ different styles of batting. Therefore getting the Mumbaikar to replace the injured Sehwag is an interesting one. Maybe getting Dinesh Karthik or a Robin Uthappa in the squad would have reduced the head ache for the captain. But now that they are not in England, the Indian think tank will be hoping Gambhir returns to his best at the earliest. And in the event of Sehwag being unfit for a while, Gambhir could be “forced” to maintain a tempo probably for the first time in his career. Yes, Rohit Sharma has got runs under his belt in England but with Virender Sehwag, you are absolutely sure of the man who is going to turn up in the middle. The middle order looks good, probably a bit reliant on Raina with the kind of form that he is in.

A comfortable win against Pakistan would have eased the nerves in the Indian dug-out. Again, the teams are just warming up and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the first one to point out the negatives from a convincing win; and that’s not such a bad idea.