Sports, Cricket

With series on the line, India aim to tighten bowling screws

Published : 22 Sep 2022 07:32 PM

India not being able to defend a 200-plus target in the first T20I against Australia in Mohali was a fair reflection of some of the current deficiencies in their bowling unit. Bhuvneshwar Kumar continued to struggle in the end overs while the returning Harshal Patel also had an off day. 

Incidentally, barring Axar Patel, rest of the Indian bowlers all went at over 10 runs an over. It is true the conditions were skewed heavily in favour of the batters. It is also true that there could have been a fair amount of dew. But, ahead of the crucial second game and also with the T20 World Cup on the horizon, India need to tighten a few screws in the bowling department. 

The narrative surrounding Bhuvneshwar is he seems to have lost a bit of 'feel' or confidence to land the yorkers, and has given away 63 runs in his last four overs at the back-end of the innings. In that context, the likely return of the pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for the second game would be welcomed by the Indian think-tank. Bumrah isn't just India's go-to bowler at the business end of an innings but he also provides the home side with another hit the deck option. 

The one silver lining for India in the opening fixture was Axar's discipline and wicket-taking nous. The spinner stuck to the basics - bowling quicker through the air alongside zooming it on the stumps. Sometimes, his seam presentation is such that the ball also comes out scrambled. That bit of randomness adds to his weaponry. 

Despite India's pace bowling unit finding itself on a flimsy footing, the home team's camp had some positives to take from the first match. KL Rahul played with a fair amount of freedom at the top of the order. With their pyrotechnics, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya proved to be the ideal follow-up acts to Rahul. 

Their opponent, Australia, would be delighted with Cameron Green grabbing the opportunity at the top of the order, in the absence of David Warner. Incidentally, Australia's batting line-up looks in good shape ahead of the World Cup, especially in the backdrop of Tim David and Matthew Wade providing them the required firepower down the order. 

Meanwhile, Nathan Ellis mixed up his lengths and pace and turned out to be Australia's banker in the slog overs. The visitors still have a couple of concerns. One of them is Aaron Finch's poor form; the Australian skipper has accumulated only one 20 plus score in his last nine international outings. On the other hand, Pat Cummins went for more than 11 an over in the first T20I, albeit in excellent batting conditions.