Team India’s clinical T20I series win over England will help the team understand what they need and where they stand with just seven months for the T20 World Cup 2021 to be held in India. However, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma said this series will not be deciding factor when it comes to picking the squad for the World Cup.
Sharma acknowledged the series against England is for the team to see where they stand but there is still a long way to go. “We will be playing a few T20Is before the World Cup and there is IPL too. All I want to say is not to judge what happened during these five matches (against England). This series was good for us but it does not mean that this is our perfect XI,” Sharma said in the post-match conference.
India and England were tied at 2-2 going into Saturday’s decider. England won the toss and put India to bat. Virat Kohli decided to go with an extra bowler and left out KL Rahul. Kohli and Sharma opened the innings and both helped India get 94 runs in nine overs. England had no response to India’s best white-ball players. Virat and Rohit’s half-centuries along with useful contributions from Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav propelled India to their highest T20I total against England – 224-2. England lost the in-form Jason Roy but Jos Butler and Dawid Malan set up a 130 run partnership. However, once both batsmen were dismissed England lost wicket regularly. Chris Jordan and Sam Curran hit a few boundaries in the last over but it was too late.
Although India sealed the series with a thumping win in the final T20I, they ran into quite a few problems. The first problem India faced was the raw pace of England pacers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. In the first four T20Is, the duo got the openers out quickly and kept things economical. India had no response to such raw pace until the final T20I.
India’s second problem is its leg spinners. Virat backed Yuzvendra Chahal but the latter leaked runs in the first three matches before being replaced by Rahul Chahar for the last two games. Chahar was also expensive in the two games. However, many of these have not played too many matches since the IPL in November last year. The same is the case with opener KL Rahul. Rahul is one of India’s finest batsman but is going through a lean patch since the Australian tour.
India will be happy with the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar's return to Indian side. He has been economical and has taken wickets when the team needed it the most. With Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja likely to return soon, India's bowling is looking good.
However, since India are likely to play New Zealand and South Africa before the T20 World Cup and with the IPL starting in April, the players will get a lot of game time. However, India must not overwork their players as sustaining injuries before the WC could derail team plans. It is also probable that players like Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Devdutt Padikkal could get a chance to play for team India before the World Cup.