Dravid concern over lack of batting depth after Windies series | Crickit
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Dravid concern over lack of batting depth after Windies series

By, Mumbai
Aug 14, 2023 08:50 PM IST

India lost the T20 series 2-3 after losing the final game in Lauderhill, Florida by eight wickets. There were some positives and some concerns

India ended their multi-format tour of the West Indies with defeat at the tail-end, losing the fifth and final T20 in the US leg. The defeat in the final game in Lauderhill, Florida, also left the team management fretting over the lack of batting sting in the tail. India won the Tests 1-0 and the ODIs 2-1 before the Windies swept the final game on Sunday by eight wickets to claim the T20 series 3-2.

Hardik Pandya was in poor batting form.(AP)
Hardik Pandya was in poor batting form.(AP)

In the two white-ball series, India went through ups and downs. With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested, the Hardik Pandya-led side had its moments but couldn’t find the momentum it needed.

“The ODIs were good, we were looking to try out a few things with the World Cup and Asia Cup coming up,” head coach Rahul Dravid said on Sunday. “So, the goals of that tournament were slightly different (in terms of) what we were trying to achieve.”

Lack of batting depth was an issue in the T20s. “Finding depth in our batting has been an area we are trying to address. We are trying to do the best we possibly can but that's certainly an area we can look at, how we cannot weaken our bowling attack but ensure we have a certain amount of depth in batting,"

It’s a crucial phase, and with the ODI World Cup in October-November at home and the T20 World Cup next year, India have many decisions to make with new faces in the mix.

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from the two white-ball series in the West Indies and USA.

Debutants impress

Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma and Mukesh Kumar made their international debuts during the tour. While Jaiswal featured in the Tests and T20Is, Varma made his debut in the T20Is and pacer Kumar played all three formats.

Opener Jaiswal was impressive, slamming a century on Test debut. The left-hander’s shot-making prowess was on display in the T20Is too as he made a match-winning 84* in the fourth game. Varma batted with composure in the middle order and was India’s highest run-getter in the T20Is. Kumar played in all eight white-ball games, taking seven wickets.

“All three guys who made their debut in the T20I series stood up,” said Dravid. “There are some real good positives there and hopefully they can take confidence from this series. They’ll get more opportunities in Ireland, and the more they play, the better they will get.”

Kuldeep shines

In the fifth T20I, India used as many as eight bowlers and seven of them went for at least eight runs per over. Only Kuldeep Yadav held his own, returning an economy rate of 4.50. The West Indies batters saw the left-arm wrist spinner as the biggest threat and mostly played him out.

Kuldeep was brilliant in this tour. The 28-year-old was the second-highest wicket-taker for India in the ODI and T20I series. He bowled quicker and with a lot more confidence.

Samson disappoints

The wicketkeeper-batter has divided opinion over the years, but when on song, Sanju Samson can strike the ball as well as anyone. However, he couldn’t make the chances count. With KL Rahul missing and Ishan Kishan hitting four half-centuries across the Tests and ODIs, Samson had to show what he’s capable of. Apart from a fifty in the third ODI, he managed just 41 runs in the other four innings.

Surya finds form

Suryakumar Yadav has been the most exciting addition in T20Is over the past two years. He was sensational in T20s in 2022 – he was the ICC T20I Player-of-the-Year – but is yet to find his best in ODIs.

In the three ODIs, he couldn’t capitalise on starts, scoring a total of just 78 runs. Questions were raised again, though Surya played a couple of superb knocks in the T20s. In the third game, he hit a 44-ball 83 to help India win and stay alive in the series. In the decider, he scored 61 off 45 to help post a competitive total. India though will see how quickly the 32-year-old cracks the one-day code.

Concern for Hardik

Hardik Pandya could not find his best. He scored 77 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 110 in the T20Is. His career strike-rate is 139.83, but it has slightly dipped since the start of 2022. In the fifth T20I, Pandya came in with India 87/4 in the 11th over. The skipper’s 18-ball 14 pushed his team into a hole. With a long tail, India couldn’t post a big enough total and lost tamely.

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