Time to move on as India step into Rohit-Dravid era

back icon
safari
16 Nov 2021 | 11:21 AM
authorHardik Worah

Time to move on as India step into Rohit-Dravid era

New Zealand will have to move on from their defeat in the finale of the T20 WC and focus on the series against India

22:50 IST on Sunday (November 14) - Australia’s Glenn Maxwell reverse swept Tim Southee for a boundary to beat New Zealand in the grand finale of the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai.  

19:00 IST on Wednesday (November 17) - The first ball of the three-match T20I series between India and New Zealand will be bowled in Jaipur.

“It's definitely tough and challenging but it is what is in front of us.” said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead. In less than 72 hours, the Black Caps will have to move on from their defeat against Australia and focus on the T20I series against India. The T20 World Cup served as a perfect reality check for India as their “outdated brand of T20 cricket” didn’t allow them to qualify for the semis of the showpiece event. The Men in Blue need to change their approach in the shortest format of the game and that will be the number one priority for new T20I skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid.

They will be up against an opponent they haven’t beaten in a world event since 2003. New Zealand have been one of the most consistent sides in white-ball cricket but have no silverware to back this argument. 2015 World Cup in Australia. 2019 World Cup in England. 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman. The Black Caps have made it to the finals of the last three ICC white-ball events but have ended up on the wrong side in each of them. They will have to find a way to pass the last hurdle, while India have a list of problems they need to sort out before the next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. There will be some tired legs and minds but there will be no compromise in terms of intensity once the series begins. 

Too many top-order batters

Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya have all been rested for the T20I series and India have brought in the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shreyas Iyer who all prefer batting in the top-three. Then they have also got Rohit, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav who too are top-order batters and it will be interesting to see what batting combination India go with in the first encounter. There will be some batters who will have to bat out of their preferred positions, which is okay, but the team management will have to start defining roles for each individual from the word go. 


When it comes to the batting department, a conservative approach in the powerplay against quality bowling and lack of aggressiveness against spinners in the middle overs are two of the major areas India need to get better at. At the end of six overs, they were 36/3 against Pakistan and 35/2 against New Zealand and ended up with below-par totals in the first two games of the World Cup. They surely flexed their muscles against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia but their campaign was more or less over after the first two defeats. 

"In terms of template, we all need to sit down and make a collective decision about what is the best template or brand of cricket we need to play to make sure Team India is getting better performances. We will have this discussion in a couple of days. It starts with the series and we are going into it with a fresh frame of mind. Long term goal is to win a World Cup. Every series from now on is important. We will try and see what the best combination is keeping the World Cup in mind," said newly-appointed vice-captain Rahul.

India are probably going to stick with the opening combination of Rahul and Rohit but they will have to find a way to use either Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav in the first six overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad is a slow-starter but is phenomenal against spinners in the middle overs. The right-hander from Maharashtra, who was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 and also slammed three consecutive fifties in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, can also prove to be a handy pick at No. 3 or 4. 

New Zealand spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner have been superb against India, especially in the middle overs, in this format and the hosts will have to find a way to make sure they don’t allow these two to dictate terms. Suryakumar, Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer have been good against spin in this phase and the onus will be on them to take care of Sodhi and Santner. The latter played as an opener for Kolkata Knight Riders in the second half of IPL 2021 but has batted in the middle-order for his state Madhya Pradesh. In the absence of Jadeja and Pandya, the 26-year-old will feature in all three games and can push his case forward for that seam-bowling allrounder spot in the middle-order. 

India need wicket-taking bowlers

Amongst the top-10 teams in T20Is since 2020, India have the worst bowling average (39) and strike rate (30.7) in the first six overs. Those numbers were even worse before they played Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia in the World Cup. India picked up only two wickets in the first two matches of the World Cup and both of them came from their ace paceman Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested for this series. India have stuck with Bhuvneshwar Kumar but have also included Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Siraj in the mix-up.

Unlike their batting, India’s bowling unit looks a lot more sorted and one could easily predict what their roles are going to be.Chahar can get you wickets with the new ball, while Harshal is your genuine wicket-taker and can unleash all his variations in the second half of the innings. Then there is Siraj who can swing the new ball and also bowl those hard lengths and yorkers at the death. Meanwhile, Avesh is your all-phase pacer. In the spin department, India have brought back Yuzvendra Chahal after dumping him for the mega event and also have two defensive finger spinners in R Ashwin and Axar Patel. 


India’s death bowling wasn’t quite tested in the World Cup, considering they didn’t score enough runs in the powerplay in the first two games, and then the opposition couldn’t score much in the next three encounters. But, that might not be the case in this series. Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar have been inconsistent at the death and this is where Siraj, Avesh and Harshal could make an impact. In IPL 2021, all three of them were among the top-five bowlers in the last phase of the innings and will now be eager to do the same at international level.

New Zealand might rest some key players

Kane Williamson and Kyle Jamieson will miss the entire T20I series to keep themselves fresh for the two-match Test series and Tim Southee will lead the New Zealand side. Williamson, Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Santner and a couple more players have been in bubbles since September and the paceman said they will keep rotating players throughout the series. 

"A few players have been in a number of bubbles for long periods of time so it does weigh you down after a while. It's something we have to look at throughout this series of three games in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then go into a Test series. The guys have to be managed throughout the series and we've got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the T20 World Cup which I'm sure we'll use throughout the T20 series," said Southee.

With Williamson out, Mark Chapman will probably bat in the middle-order. The Black Caps don’t have too many options in the batting department and all the remaining batters who played in the final against Australia will feature in all three T20Is. Lockie Ferguson, who missed the T20 World Cup due to the strain in his right calf, is expected to be fit and available for the series. 

Probable XIs

India - Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel/R Ashwin, Harshal Patel/Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.

New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Tim Seifert (wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee (c), Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.

(Images credit: BCCI)

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
India vs New ZealandNew Zealand tour of India, 2021IndiaNew ZealandIshan KishanVenkatesh IyerRahul DravidRohit SharmaHarshal PatelIsh SodhiMitchell SantnerMohammed Siraj

Related Articles

safari
ANALYSIS
With whitewash in sight, India’s team combination remains a suspense
Sunday’s clash will be a dead rubber, but ‘to rotate or to not rotate’ remains the question
userAnirudh Suresh
20 Nov 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
New Zealand’s T20 template in question again as India eye series win
Within a week after playing the T20 World Cup final in Dubai, New Zealand are tasked to save a bilateral T20I series defeat in Ranchi
userShubh Aggarwal
18 Nov 2021
safari
FANTASY
India vs New Zealand, 2nd T20I: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips that might help you create your fantasy team for the second T20I between India and New Zealand in Ranchi
usercricket.com staff
18 Nov 2021
safari
FANTASY
India vs New Zealand, 1st T20I: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips that might help you create your fantasy team for the first T20I between India and New Zealand in Jaipur
usercricket.com staff
16 Nov 2021
safari
NEWS
Rohit Sharma named India captain for New Zealand T20Is
KL Rahul was named vice-captain of the side while former skipper Virat Kohli and several senior players have been rested
usercricket.com staff
09 Nov 2021
safari
OPINION
Are India courageous enough to drop either Rohit or Kohli?
We try to look at India’s ideal playing XI for the T20 World Cup
userHardik Worah
22 Oct 2021
safari
YEAR-ENDER
How teams are shaping up for the 2021 T20 World Cup?
Here, we look at where the top-10 T20I sides stand ahead of the showpiece event
userHardik Worah
30 Dec 2020
safari
OPINION
How teams are shaping up for the 2021 T20 World Cup?
Here, we look at where the top-10 T20I sides stand ahead of the showpiece event
userHardik Worah
28 Dec 2020
safari
NZ-IND 1ST ODI PREVIEW
India look to continue T20I dominance in ODIs against New Zealand
Rohit has been ruled out of the remainder of the tour, while the Black Caps too will be without Williamson
userHardik Worah
04 Feb 2020
safari
1ST T2OI PREVIEW
India out to correct their abysmal T20I record against Kiwis
Both teams have their own problems and will look to sort most of them out in the next 10 days
userHardik Worah
23 Jan 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved