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NZ vs IND, 1st T20I, 2022-23: Wellington game gets abandoned; India’s new plans postponed

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

India tour of New Zealand 2022, 1st T20I: Match abandoned as rain plays spoilsport at Wellington; India’s new plans postponed.

India tour of New Zealand, First T20I: Wellington T20I abandoned due to rain _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
First T20I called off due to heavy rains (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

After heartbreaking exits from the semi-final stage of the recently concluded ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 held in Australia, both New Zealand and India locked horns for the first of the three-match T20I series at the Sky Stadium in Wellington.

In their faceoffs in the shortest format of the game, India have come up as victorious in 11 games while the Blackcaps have won nine games.

Persistent rain overshadows any possibility of a game

The T20I series between these two T20 powerhouses is expected to be a huge opportunity for India to try a few young players in this format of the game in the absence of senior players, but persistent rain wiped off that chance for India. The game was abandoned even without the toss being held as the players were forced to spend time indoors.

However, since the end of the second semi-final of T20 World Cup 2022 where India were bulldozed by eventual champions England by a crushing margin of 10 wickets, there were questions raised over a few positions in the current India T20I side.

Pant could be the solution for opening slot

In the backdrop of a huge dip in the form of KL Rahul, India could think of using Rishabh Pant as an opener in the T20Is. The left-handed batter hasn’t been a usual member of the Indian side in the shortest format of the game in the last few months with the inclusion of Dinesh Karthik in the period till the T20 World Cup 2022. But with Karthik’s exclusion for the series against New Zealand, chances are that Pant should play all through.

That position with just two fielders outside the 30-yard circle would always be valuable for a fierce batter like Rishabh Pant who loves to take on the bowlers from word go.

India tour of New Zealand, First T20I_ Shreyas Iyer practices as match abandoned due to rain _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Shreyas Iyer can play anchor role in the middle for India (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Iyer, Samson could fix middle order issues

With the absence of Virat Kohli in the ongoing series, Shreyas Iyer had a great chance to showcase his talent in the middle order along with Sanju Samson who had done nothing wrong in whatever few chances he was given in the past.

Suryakumar Yadav would keep on smashing the bowlers all around the park just like he has been doing all along since the last one and a half years leading into the T20 World Cup 2022; while amongst all-rounders, in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, both Axar Patel and comeback man Washington Sundar could get some game time in the middle.

India tour of New Zealand, First T20I_ Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh pose for picture during practices; match abandoned due to rain _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Umran Malik might get a longer run in T20I (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh could be given more chances

Arshdeep Singh got 10 wickets in six games during the T20 World Cup 2022 and was the highest wicket-taker from the Indian team. He should definitely be given more chances along with Umran Malik who with more games could polish his game as well.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar who didn’t have a great T20 World Cup campaign, could also chip in with guidance for the young bowlers in the squad, keeping in mind the next T20 World Cup in 2024 which is going to be organised in West Indies and United States of America.

Former players back Hardik Pandya as regular India skipper in T20Is

Former India skippers, Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, while speaking on different media fora categorically hinted at making Gujarat Titans skipper and premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya the T20I skipper of India. This move will be wise and in tune with the demands of the modern-day game as there is a huge amount of workload on an all-format skipper and a regimen where specialised squads and skippers play specific formats could bode well for India’s future assignments, be it the ICC tournaments or bilateral series.

“For T20 cricket, there is no harm in having a new captain,” Shastri expressed to reporters ahead of the first T20I in Wellington.

He added: “Because the volume of cricket is such, that for one player to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy. If Rohit is already leading in Tests and ODIs, there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain, and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it.”

Srikkanth discussed in a Star Sports show called 'Match Point', "See, if I was the chairperson of the selection committee, I would say that Hardik Pandya should be the captain for the 2024 World Cup straightaway, I'd put it that way - number one. And start rebuilding a side right from today, that is from the New Zealand series which is going to happen in a week’s time. You start from today, the preparation for the World cup, you need to understand, start two years in advance.”

“So, you do whatever you want to do, the trial-and-error policy, try it for one year, then you form a team and by 2023, make sure this is going to be at the level that is going to play the World Cup," he added.

Rohit Sharma is currently the all-format skipper of India while Hardik Pandya first captained India in a two-match T20I series against Ireland in June 2022 in the absence of the former. Pandya is also the skipper of the national squad in the ongoing T20I series against the Kiwis. In his maiden IPL season as captain of Gujarat Titans (GT), Pandya gifted them an Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy in the 2022 season and definitely has the prerequisites of a thoroughly good regular white-ball skipper of India in the long run.

What’s Next

The second T20I game of the three-match T20I series between New Zealand and India will be held on November 20 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.


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