Changes India Should Make for the Second T20

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After suffering a crushing defeat at Kanpur, India will be looking to bounce back and level the series in the Second T20 at Nagpur.

In the First T20, India were let down by a weak batting performance in which they only managed 147 in the first innings. As a result of this, the Indian selectors will no doubt be considering changing the Indian batting unit. It is likely that India will opt for the young Rishabh Pant over former opener Lokesh Rahul, who once again failed on Thursday.

Moreover, India’s bowling attack never really looked threatening. They only managed to claim three wickets, two of them coming from the impressive leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Ashish Nehra’s return to the side after his injury was hardly effective, as he was dispatched for 31 runs in just three overs. Therefore, for the Second T20, India will definitely be considering playing Bhuvneshwar Kumar at his expense. Also, the ground at Nagpur is much bigger than the one in Kanpur. As a result of this, it may suit India to select Amit Mishra in these conditions ahead of the off-spinner Parveez Rasool.

Rishabh Pant for Lokesh Rahul

Lokesh Rahul’s recent limited overs form has been abysmal. He has only managed a top score of 11 in the four most recent limited overs matches he has played against England. Therefore, it may be time to drop him from the side and to give another opener a chance.

When the India squad was announced, one of the biggest shocks was the inclusion of the young opener Rishabh Pant. Pant, 19 years of age, is coming off the back of an amazing Ranji Trophy season in which he scored over 970 runs for Delhi in just eight matches. He also looked to be in phenomenal touch in the warm-up match against the England XI. In that innings, he blasted a great 59 off just 36 balls to set up the win for India A. Now would be the perfect time for India to turn to him and he is an exciting prospect for the future.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Ashish Nehra

As mentioned earlier, Nehra’s comeback from injury was far from successful. He appeared to be extremely inconsistent and he never settled down into a good rhythm, despite a solid first over. He was later dispatched for 15 runs in the 18th over, with Joe Root hitting back to back boundaries off him, after he bowled a wide at the start of the over. It is too great a risk for India to retain him in their side for the Second T20.

Instead, I believe India should return to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Unlike Nehra, Kumar doesn’t focus on express pace, but aims to stifle the opposition by building up pressure with his swing and great accuracy. Kumar, however, didn’t look in that good form in the ODI series, only picking up one wicket in the two matches he played. Yet he was bowling in batting friendly conditions, in which teams consistently scored over 350. Kumar proved that he still has his pinpoint accuracy and India would definitely prefer him to an out of form Nehra in the Second T20.

Amit Mishra for Parveez Rasool

The pick of India’s bowlers in the First T20 was leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. He picked up the wickets of both of England’s openers and gave India a chance to win the match. India should be considering, then, playing an extra leg-spinner for the Second T20. Parveez Rasool, the off-spinner, would be the player dropped to accommodate for Amit Mishra. Rasool had a decent outing, picking up the wicket of the England captain, but went at a costly 8 runs an over.

Historically, Nagpur has favoured the leg-spinners over the off-spinners, as the longer off-side boundaries make it hard for the batsmen to hit with the spin. So, while it may seem harsh to drop Rasool, playing an extra leg-spinner is key. Mishra’s recent limited overs form is also exceptional, as he took 5/18 in the last ODI he played. His addition to the India side would give them the best possible chance of winning the Second T20 match and to level the series.