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Sunil Gavaskar - Master's words

India's loss in the last ODI shows chinks in side; T20 game perfect buildup for World T20



Monday, February 09, 2022
Eyeopener

India missed out on a chance to win all five matches in the one-day series when they lost the final one dayer. What that game showed is that India will need to take a long hard look at its bowling reserves for without Zaheer Khan this attack can be taken apart as the Sri Lankans did in the last game. It saved some blushes for the Lankans but created some more for the Indian bowlers.

Right since the first game the Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been asking for clarity in thoughts from the bowlers especially in the final overs and when the powerplays are on. To be fair the limited-overs format is not for the bowlers and is mainly for the entertainment of the public who come to see some big hitting from the batsmen. 

Yet there are plenty of bowlers who have bowled economically and generally picked wickets with the white ball too. That India wasn't able to deliver the killer blow after a mini-collapse from the Sri Lankans is the worrying factor. At that stage when the Lankans had lost 4 wickets in quick succession for just a few runs it looked as if the Indians would be able to restrict the home team to less than 300 and that was a gettable score. That the Lankans went well past 300 indicates how the bowlers were smashed all over the park by the tail and not the main batsmen.

The T20 match will expose the bowlers even more and it will be interesting to see the combination that India field. The Lankans have already sent a message to their senior players that this is a young man's game by omitting regular skipper Jayawardene and Sangakarra from the T20 squad. Of course the evergreen Jayasuriya is there but he is a special ageless player capable of holding his own in any format of the game. In fact to see the boyish enthusiasm with which this veteran played even in the last game is to belie his age as he shamed some of the younger players in the team with his agility.

The T20 format is so quick that there is simply no room for tactics or strategy and the game can change in a matter of deliveries. What T20 needs above all else is fitness and good fielding as that can make the difference between winning and losing. A run saved is a run scored is an old adage in cricket but it is especially applicable to the T20 format. So what teams need are good fitness trainers and fielding coaches and not the paraphernalia of friends and parochialism that is evident in the Indian Premier League squads' support staff. It is obvious from the changes being made that team owners won't be taken for a ride as some were in the initial year.

India are the defending world champions and with the ICC World T20 in England later in June this match against Sri Lanka will be among the games that will give the selectors an idea of who and what the combination should be to retain the title. 

(PMG)
 


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