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"Old-fashioned and timid" - Nasser Hussain on India's top-order

Last updated on 11 Nov 2022 | 01:04 PM
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"Old-fashioned and timid" - Nasser Hussain on India's top-order

In the 2022 T20 World Cup, India inexplicably went at a strike rate of 100.5 in the powerplay

Former England captain Nasser Hussain said India's top-order batters were "old-fashioned and timid" with their approach and that led to their downfall in the semi-final of the 2022 T20 World Cup

The Men in Blue were 62/2 at the end of 10 overs and it was only because of Hardik Pandya's 33-ball 63 they managed to get close to that 170-run mark. In reply, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales hammered 63 runs just in the powerplay and went on to win the game by 10 wickets.

All year long, prior to the World Cup, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma spoke about how he wanted his side to play an all-out aggressive brand of cricket. In the 32 T20Is they played in 2022 in the lead-up to the World Cup, India struck at 142.6 in overs 1-6, proving to be the quickest-scoring full-member in the powerplay. 

Also read: How and why India’s World Cup campaign fell apart

However, come the World Cup, India, rather puzzlingly, completely moved away from this strategy and let the bowlers fully dominate proceedings. In overs 1-6 in this T20WC, India inexplicably went at a strike rate of 100.5, proving to be the second-slowest scoring side in the powerplay.

“The contrast between the two teams in their respective power plays could not be more stark. I had said in these pages that India at the top of the order still play a bit of an old-fashioned game and even their former coach Ravi Shastri talked of the need for them to change when he worked for Sky last summer," wrote Hussain in his column for the Daily Mail on Friday.

“Yet they were still too timid. India must have known they would need to get an above-par score against this England batting line-up yet they plodded along and if it was not for Hardik at the end they would have been way below par.

“You are talking about an array of world-class talent and there is no way that batting line-up should have been 66 for two at the halfway mark of a T20 innings in a semi-final."

England's openers then made a mockery of India's 169-run target and hunted it down in just 16 overs, without losing a single wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had a superb record against Buttler, was smoked for 25 runs in his two overs.

“If India had been chasing a decent total they would have had to go hard but as it was they didn’t seem to know what a good score would be. Then India just expected Bhuvneshwar Kumar to continue the hold he has had over Jos Buttler in T20 cricket when England batted but it just didn’t happen. Together with the long levers of Hales at the other end, India had no answer.

“Hales was very clever in the angles he created against Axar Patel because he angles it into the right-hander from wide of the crease so Hales was picking him up behind square on the legside. Everyone was focusing on how Suryakumar can pick the ball up from there but Hales was just as good in the way he approached and executed this."

Meanwhile, another former England captain Michael Vaughan went on to say that India are the "most under-performing white-ball team" in the history of the game. India last won an ICC title in 2013 and since then have constantly struggled in the knockouts.

"India are the most under-performing white-ball team in history. Every player in the world who goes to the Indian Premier League says how it improves their game but what have India ever delivered," Vaughan told The Telegraph.

“I am just staggered by how they play T20 cricket for the talent they have. They have the players, but just do not have the right process in place. They have to go for it. Why do they give the opposition bowlers the first five overs to bed in?" 

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