Former India batter Aakash Chopra reckons that the team’s decision to open with Ishan Kishan instead of Rohit Sharma against New Zealand was “fundamentally wrong”. At the same time, he pointed out that the questionable tactic exposed a massive selection blunder.
India were forced to bring in Kishan into the playing XI after Suryakumar Yadav was declared unfit for the game. However, the decision to open the innings with the young left-hander and push down Rohit to no.3 did not go down well with a lot of experts.
Chopra also agreed that the batting order should not have been tampered with at any cost. Speaking on his YouTube channel, he opined:
“You played Ishan Kishan because Suryakumar Yadav was not fit and made him open. In order to play the left-right combination, you made your biggest match-winner come down in the order. You changed your set batting order (1,2,3) after just one loss and that is fundamentally wrong. I don’t think that can be justified.”
The 44-year-old went on to add that India found themselves in a tight spot following Yadav’s unavailability because they did not pick a single back-up middle-order batter in their 15-man squad. Chopra explained:
“This thing (opening with Kishan) in turn exposed the selection procedure. The team you had picked had only one extra batsman. The team had several spinners but only one extra batter and that too an opener. If a middle-order batter gets unfit, you are left with no option but to play that opener. That throws the batting line-up out of order.”
The former India opener further elaborated:
“The team already had three openers (Rohit, KL Rahul, Kishan). Even Sky could have opened but there were no middle-order batters as back-up. This was a two-way problem and just dismantling the opening combination was not the right thing to do. India’s hands were tied in the end.”
Sent into bat, India failed to get any momentum into their innings and crawled to 110 for 7. New Zealand cruised to victory by eight wickets.
I applaud Virat Kohli for accepting team was hesitant: Aakash Chopra of India’s lack of intent
While the players could not give their best with bat and ball, many also questioned the body language and attitude of the Indian team out in the middle.
Speaking about the same, Chopra admitted:
“Whether in the batting or the bowling, the players that India picked did not look confident. The team seemed hesitant and I actually applaud Virat Kohli for accepting it. He admitted that they were hesitant and not brave enough. In T20 cricket, without bravery you cannot be a champion side.”
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India need to win their next three matches by comprehensive margins and hope other results go their way to make it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.