top of page

India's pain points in T20Is and what's the way forward

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

India tour of West Indies 2023: Team India's pain points in T20Is and what's the way forward.

India tour of west Indies 2023: West Indies leading 5 match T20I series by 2-1 against India _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
West Indies leading 5 match T20I series by 2-1 (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

India have been unbeaten in bilateral T20I series since losing to Sri Lanka in the island nation in July 2021. But they have failed to win three multi-nation tournaments - 2021 and 2022 World T20 and the 2022 Asia Cup. And even in those bilateral wins, India have not been convincing or played exciting cricket to draw confidence among fans that India could be title contenders for the 2024 World T20.

Now, playing a dull brand of T20 cricket, India are on the verge of losing a bilateral T20I series with West Indies, who lead the five-match series 2-1.

So, what are India's pain points in the T20 squad and what's the way forward?

Where are the batters who can bowl or bowlers who can bat?

Remember the days when Sachin Tendulkar, the batting legend, was counted on to bowl a few overs in all formats to break a threatening stand, and sometimes even win matches just with the ball itself? Also, credit must be given to batting greats such as Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly who often bowled and took wickets to lend balance to the playing XI. Besides, there were bowlers who were no mug with the bat and could make a few extra runs for the team with their pinch-hitting. For the record, once the tailenders Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble combined to win an ODI against Australia, not with the ball, but with the bat in Bengaluru in 1996.

Where are those players now?

Taking into account India’s last XI from the second T20I against West Indies, India’s batting order is complete with specialist batters, and bowlers who are sitting ducks. While batters such as Shubman Gill, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson hardly bowl, bowlers such as Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Ravi Bishnoi and Mukesh Kumar are hardly good hitters of the ball.

The result is India have a long tail, starting with no. 8 itself. In fact, the joke is that India played with four no. 11s in the second T20I. Hence, Indian batters could not play freely as they feared exposing the long tail, while the tail itself could not inspire much confidence with the bat.

West Indies’ lower-order fared much better

In comparison, West Indies had a lower-order line-up that could hit sixes at will, and win the match for their team. No. 9 batter Akeal Hosein and No. 10 Alzarri Joseph struck a match-winning stand of 27 runs in 2.5 overs in the second T20I to steal a 2-wicket win for the West Indies. Between them, the two struck 2 fours and a six to dent India’s final push for a win.

Previously in the first T20I, India’s tailenders could not finish off the game and fell short by 4 runs. India’s long tail, while West Indies’ deep batting lineup separated the two teams in the first two matches. As a result, WI took 2-0 lead in the series.

Commentator and expert, Harsha Bhogle, pointed out this flaw in the Indian line-up, when he said, “The West Indies have highlighted one of the issues that India have in white ball cricket. They won today because they had six-hitters down the order. India tend to taper off at the end. You don't need batters down at 9/10 but they must have the ability to hit boundaries.”

So, what is the way forward?

India tour of west Indies 2023_ Deepak Chahar is handy with the bat lower down the order _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Chahar can be handy with the bat lower down the order (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Find pinch-hitters among tailenders

If India has to solve this issue, they must start looking for lower-order players who could be as good hitters as any other specialist batter, while they do their primary role of a bowler successfully.

Players such as Deepak Chahar, who is not only a good swing bowler but also a handy batter who can hit those fours and sixes in the end overs, are good picks any day. Chahar can not only bag wickets in any phase of the game but can also hit a few lusty blows down the order to finish off games.

Even Shivam Dube, who is not only a medium-pace bowler but also a good power-hitter, can be a useful addition to the playing XI in T20Is.

Experimenting is the key

Hence, India must experiment with a few fresh faces to find the right winning combination as the current modus operandi of specialist batters or bowlers is not working for Team India.

India could take a leaf out of top teams such as England or Australia who bat really deep in T20Is as that gives the batters the freedom to go on an all-attack mode right from the word go, while big-hitting bowlers add to the momentum or help in finishing games in case of collapses just like how West Indies showed the other day.


bottom of page