Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid forced to reconsider T20 WC tactics for Australia Super 8 game: 'They'll get punished if...' | Crickit
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Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid forced to reconsider T20 WC tactics for Australia Super 8 game: 'They'll get punished if...'

Jun 24, 2024 10:50 AM IST

India vs Australia: Local curators at Gros Islet reckon that playing three spin options at the venue will be a bit too much for the Men in Blue.

Teams seldom want to risk tinkering with their playing XI, especially during a winning streak which happens during a tournament as big as the World Cup. But when it comes to the T20 format, conditions and opposition play a vital role in deciding the strategy for a team. On Monday, India will be up against Australia in their final Super Eight match in the ongoing 2024 T20 World Cup in Saint Lucia, where the semifinal qualification will be at stake for both teams, and head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma might be forced to change their playing XI given the surface at the Daren Sammy Stadium.

India's head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma ahead ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 match against Australia(Surjeet Yadav)
India's head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma ahead ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 match against Australia(Surjeet Yadav)

India have so far been playing with four specialist bowling options, besides four other all-rounders. The entire bowling unit comprises three spinners, with Kuldeep Yadav being the specialist option and four fast bowlers, with Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube being the all-rounders. The strategy has helped them claim wins against Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the Super Eight stage as they stand at the top of the Group 1 table and a point away from securing a second consecutive semifinal qualification in T20 World Cups.

However, local curators at Gros Islet reckon that playing three spin options at the venue will be a bit too much for India, given that the surface has favoured batters more through the course of this tournament. The main square has six black soil pitches, and number three will be used for the day game on Monday. Hence, the likely swap could be Kuldeep for Siraj.

"The pitch is nice and hard, should stay the same throughout in a day game. Whichever team bats should score 180 to 200. I prefer to bat and put runs on the board. England batted poorly. The pitch got a bit tricky and the ball was not coming on," a member of the groundstaff at the Darren Sammy Stadium told PTI.

Host nation West Indies had smashed 218, the highest team total in this T20 World Cup, in an evening game in Saint Lucia, while South Africa were able to defend 163 successfully against England in the only day game played at the venue. In that game, spinners picked up four wickets at an economy rate of 6.16, while the pacers snared seven wickets at eight and a half runs per over.

"It gets drier in a day game when the sun is out, it would be a good game tomorrow. Here we don't get much spin. We get nice bounce but not a lot of spin on this black soil pitch. I would play an extra pacer. The surface is more suited to the pacers and has consistent pace and bounce. Bowlers will need to bowl well else they get punished," said another member of the groundstaff.

Even a washout in St Lucia, where it has been raining incessantly for the last 24 hours, will help India get through to the semis, while for Australia they will need to win the game by a convincing margin and hope Bangladesh either beat Afghanistan in the final Super Eight match or keep the losing margin low enough to help them get qualify for the next round via a superior net run rate than Rashid Khan's men.

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