T20 World Cup 2021: How Virat Kohli's India can turn the tide

Though India lost the big opening game to Pakistan, but it still has four more group games left in order to finish in the top two and march into the semifinal.

India has a six-day break before regrouping for the must-win clash against New Zealand.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Some things never change, especially for Indian cricket fans whenever the men’s team suffers a crucial defeat. Just that the mode of expressing wrath has altered over the years. From pelting stones and burning effigies till not so long ago to racially trolling certain players in the social media age, the fans have persisted with their outburst.

But the journey has just started for the Indian cricket team, albeit not how they would have liked.

Virat Kohli and Co. have four more group games left in order to finish in the top two and march into the semifinal. For that to happen, however, the team management has a lot to ponder, specifically about the combination.

The XI that entered the Ring of Fire on Sunday - six specialist batters, Ravindra Jadeja the all-rounder and four specialist bowlers - could have appeared to be tailor-made for T20 cricket a decade ago. The much-needed zing was missing in the rapidly evolving T20 scenario.

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Hardik Pandya hurt his right shoulder while batting. He sat out the second half of the game. Since the injuries took a toll on his body, even affecting his bowling arm, Ishan Kishan could have been a better pick.

Ishan’s inclusion will enable India to keep the left-right combination for most of the innings. His power-hitting abilities will ensure a good run rate in the middle overs if the openers depart early. If Ishan and Rishabh Pant can both find a way in the XI, one of them can be slotted in at No. 3 in case of an early wicket.

As for the bowling group, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should make way for Shardul Thakur to provide a better option in the middle overs and lower down the order with the willow, if required. India has a six-day break before regrouping for the must-win clash against New Zealand.

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Captain Virat Kohli asserted after the loss that the long gap will serve the team well. “It works really well for us from all points of view, knowing that we have played a full-fledged season already, we played the IPL, which is very high-octane by itself in testing conditions here in the UAE, and then we come into the World Cup,” Kohli said on Sunday night.

“These big breaks are definitely something that’s going to help us as a team to be in the prime physical condition that we need to be to play this high-intensity tournament.”

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