Thursday, January 21, 2021

Indian Summer Starts in Style for Kohli’s Men

England struggle as T20 side remains a work in progress

Rohit Sharma’s magnificent 100 not out led India to victory in the final T20 International of the English summer in Bristol. Both the heatwave, which has struck over the past few weeks, along with the strong Indian support in the stands certainly aided Virat Kohli’s players. LazyFanSports runs through the significance of the series.

England batting line-up appears imbalanced

Whereas the ODI side is settled and full of confidence, there appears to be confusion over individual roles on the T20 front. The decision by Paul Farbrace to promote Jos Buttler to opener paid off for the individual. However, the impact this decision had on the team is open to debate. England failing to make 200 runs in any innings in the series exemplifies this point.

Joe Root’s poor summer continued. A second ball duck and a mere nine in the first two games saw him dropped for the Bristol clash. By no means is Root incapable of playing T20 cricket, he is among the best players in the world across all formats. Despite this, his role in the middle order is definitely unclear. His lack of confidence, especially in the shorter formats, partially stems from his IPL rejection. Either England need to stick by Root, giving him a clearly defined role in the top order, or decide against using him in T20s.

Eoin Morgan, England’s captain, is another player who has failed to score runs in this T20 series. Question marks will not yet be raised, with the ODI side excelling under his leadership. Nevertheless, he is now under pressure to perform with the bat in the upcoming One-Day matches.

In terms of the bowling line up, David Willey took wickets in every single match. His position as opening bowler has been firmly secured following his performances in this series. While T20 matches can be tough for bowlers in the batsman friendly environment created, England’s other bowlers need to be more consistent to challenge the best teams.

India present tough opposition for England

Virat Kohli, desperate to succeed in English conditions this summer, has begun the summer in style. With two knocks of over 40 and and 20 not out, England should be fearful of India’s superstar batsman. Expect a summer filled with runs, especially in conditions suited to sub-continent players. In the battle between Kohli and Root, it is the former who has triumphed in the first three matches.

India’s bowlers were excellent, esecially in their use of variations. Although questions marks remain from the first game on their gamesmanship, Umesh Yadav was a particularly potent player in the series. Taking five wickets in the three matches, he was the standout performer for India with the ball.

As India hunt down Pakistan for the position of number one T20 ranked side, this series will give them renewed confidence. Traditionally a poor travelling side, Kohli’s team will take assurance from their performances on English soil. Home or away, India’s T20 side are a mightily good outfit.

Another example of IPL dominance?

Calls for a franchise style competition will ring louder following India’s win. The ECB will feel vindicated by their proposition of ‘The Hundred,’ hoping to attract the world’s biggest superstars. Although there is some force to this argument, evidence is lacking that ‘The Hundred’ can possibly compete with the IPL. First, English players already play in T20 tournaments around the globe. In 2018, the question is not exposure to T20 cricket. Instead, Farbrace and Morgan need to find the correct team balance. Second, ‘The Hundred’ will not include much of England’s finest talent, with test matches occurring simultaneously.

The series puts England’s progress into perspective. With the hot weather altering conditions, along with the strong Indian support at English grounds, the players need to adapt better to beat the strongest sides. Finally, with the ICC preparing pitches for next year’s World Cup, this T20 series must act as a warning ahead of the forthcoming ODI matches. England still have a lot of work to do.

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