Team India’s new leadership will look to iron out the chinks and bag the series in Ranchi. Team India’s first match in the shortest format of the game under the new leadership of Rohit Sharma as captain and Rahul Dravid as head coach in Jaipur showed glimpses of what’s in store for Indian cricket on and off the field. But it’s too early to dwell on the future of the partnership. Starting off with a win, even though a hard-fought one, augurs well at any time, especially if it breaks a seven-match losing streak across formats against the Black Caps.
Now, a new-look Men in Blue squad will look to settle the issue in the second game of the three-match T20 series in Ranchi. A series win here will give them the luxury of testing the bench in the last match at Eden Gardens. No doubt the think-tank, headed by a calm and composed Dravid, will try to iron out a few creases here and there.
The win at Sawai Mansingh Stadium wasn’t easy, and there were nerves in the end, especially in the last two overs of the chase. A more assuring display from the middle order would have been preferred. However, Ravichandran Ashwin, back in the T20 fold after a four-year hiatus, and out-of-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s performance with the ball were the big positives, along with Surya Kumar Yadav’s Man-of-the-Match innings and skipper Rohit’s fluent 48.
Committed to give players a long rope and assuring them of their roles to play freely in a match, it’s unlikely that the new leadership will unnecessarily tinker with the winning combination when India take field at JSC International Stadium on Friday. Mohammed Siraj could be a doubtful starter with a torn left webbing suffered in the first match.New skipper Rohit might have missed a trick in not giving the ball to debutant bowling allrounder Venkatesh Iyer in Jaipur, especially when Siraj and Deepak Chahar were struggling a bit in the middle overs.
This is likely to find a mention in Dravid’s notebook, which he was seen scribbling in during the first T20I. Tim Southee and with top scorer Guptill (42-ball 70) in their rank, will aim for a course correction and take hope in With dew likely to play a part in the second innings, toss could be a big factor. Rohit will surely like to continue calling it right over his Kiwi counterpart Southee, for whom winning the toss and match will be crucial to stay alive in the series.
The pitch at now-retired homeboy Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s backyard looks likely to offer batters an enjoyable outing, though the Ranchi turf always has something to offer for the bowlers as well. The average score at the venue is about 150 but the buzz around the groundstaff says the wicket will offer 170-plus score. However, don’t be surprised to see something different on Friday night.And, it will be encouraging to see the strengthening of a new combination at the helm to add another hue to the new dawn in Indian cricket at arguably its all-time greatest skipper’s home ground.
With dew likely to play a part in the second innings, toss could be a big factor. Rohit will surely like to continue calling it right over his Kiwi counterpart Southee, for whom winning the toss and match will be crucial to stay alive in the series. And, it will be encouraging to see the strengthening of a new combination at the helm to add another hue to the new dawn in Indian cricket at arguably its all-time greatest skipper’s home ground.