India’s batting strategy in T20

India's road to success in the T20 World Cup lies in skillfully executing plans made for its batting department. The Indian batsmen, have upon them the added responsibility of covering up the patchy bowling that Indians come up with every now and then. Read the article to know more about the strategies that need to be employed in the Indian batting for the best possible results to arrive.

India's success in international cricket, especially in major tournaments like World Cups and difficult tours abroad, has come about as a result of its batting prowess making up for some severe inefficiency in its bowling department. The latest achievement of Indian batting was the World Cup 2011 triumph, in which the Indian batsmen made visibly more impact than the bowlers. In times when the batsmen failed, bowlers were not able to come up with any alternative solutions- the thrashing in England and Australia last year says just this story. The batting, however, acquires special importance when the Indian team plays in the T20 format.

The special importance gets attached to the batting department, primarily because of the chopping and changing that always exists in the bowling sector. The injury-ravaged Indian bowlers hardly manage to play for two years at a stretch, and this results in creation of imbalance within the team. Such imbalance is magnified many times in the T20 format, where momentary lapses can cause huge differences in the ultimate result. In the absence of a cohesive bowling unit , the Indian batting generally takes up the responsibility of lending an extra cushion to the team, by virtue of a few extra runs. The endeavour to get that compulsory quota of 'extra' runs to provide cushion for the shaky bowling, is aided by the reputation of Indian batsmen like Virender Sehwag , Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and M.S.Dhoni, who are players endowed with the qualities of being able to play both as team-players and as individuals, as and when the situation demands! The star-studded batting line-up has won India numerous laurels over the years, and it would not be unfair to expect them to repeat the magic in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

Things, however, may go awry if the batting department is not well co-ordinated or if the batting order is assigned arbitrarily. To avoid any such scenario, its important to understand the delicate dynamic balance that ought to be present in the Indian batting department. The analysis that follows seeks to make people know about the various factors that are simultaneously at work in the Indian batting.

Should the opening combination stay unchanged inspite of Virender Sehwag's poor run of form?

Sehwag and Gambhir have been the most successful opening pair for India, after Sachin and Sourav, and have been instrumental in giving India good starts on many an occasion. These two have, at times, taken additional care to ensure that the middle order does not get exposed to the new ball very quickly in the innings. Sehwag's string of poor performances in T20s, recently, however has been a cause for concern in the Indian camp and the management might be tempted to bench him for a few games and try out Virat Kohli as Gambhir's opening partner. This move is fraught with many dangers- Kohli is yet to be established in the T20 format, and fiddling with his batting slot so early in his career might just prove counter-productive to his current run of good form which has come mainly with his batting in the middle order. Also, in the event of Kohli opening the batting, the middle order might lose its solidity in due course of time. The opening combination in T20, thus, need not be changed and the balance in the team shall be restored in due course of time when Sehwag's poor run ends.

What should be Kohli, Raina, Rohit, Yuvraj and Dhoni's roles in the middle order?

Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and the skipper M.S.Dhoni have now established themselves in the T20 side. It is hence imperative for the team management to chalk out clearly defined roles for these stars and let them know how they are to go about their duties in the batting department. Virat Kohli is relatively new to the T20 side, and his experience in the shortest format of the game is mainly due to his exposure in the IPL. The rest, on the other hand, have greater experience in T20s and all except Raina were part of the victorious campaign in 2007. India's middle order can be safely categorised as an established one. However, the captain's tendency to frequently use himself as 'floater' in the batting order may either disturb the composition, or may also end up helping the team's cause. On days when the openers do a fairly good job and the team is in need of quick runs in the dying stages of the game, the captain may promote himself up the order and go for quick runs, even if that entails sacrificing his wicket. On days when wickets tumble quickly, he may come lower down the order and consolidate the team's position with his gusty resilience. M.S.Dhoni , thus, remains a vital linchpin in the Indian middle order. The job that the other middle order batsmen need to do is strictly routine-based- go out, get your eyes in and then launch the assault.

The important question – who should be the no.7 in T20s?

This question has been haunting the Indian team irrespective of the format in which they play- ODI or T20, and even in Tests to a certain extent. Ever since the retirement of Robin Singh, India's witch-hunt for a suitable all-rounder to play at no.7 in the shorter formats of the game has not yielded desirable results. Players have come and gone- Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja and now Irfan Pathan- all have been tried, tested and ultimately dropped due to their failure to satisfy the needs. Irfan is being tried once again for the no.7 spot in the ongoing T20 World Cup. The no.7 position acquires special importance particularly because of M.S.Dhoni's tendency to play a batsman more, rather than a specialist bowler. If Irfan can answer the call of duty required to take the no.7 spot, then M.S.D may go ahead and recruit a bowler more. Simultaneously, the batting too shall be strengthened with Irfan's ability to hit the big shots in the death overs adding to the resourcefulness of the Indian middle order.

The road to a successful execution of the plans in batting lies entrenched the captain's ability to repose faith and confidence in his batsmen. If the players know the job that they are supposed to perform, the results are likely to arrive positively indeed. India's batting has the added responsibility of covering up the deficiencies in the bowling department, and this vital task would be possible only if there is a good degree of co-ordination and resourcefulness in the team!


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