There are no two ways about it - Arshdeep Singh’s dropped catch cost India dear against Pakistan in their Super 4 match here on Sunday. Having said that, it must be accepted that gaffes - even the most comical, humiliating - can happen to the best in professional sports.
For Arshdeep and the Indian team, it is time to forget the past and look ahead. The focus shifts to a fixture against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, one that is crucial to India’s hopes of qualifying for the final.
The best way for Arshdeep - who put down a dolly offered by Asif Ali - to get over the heartache would be to turn in a good performance against the Lankans. In the meantime, the young pacer is sure to receive some tender loving care from those around him.
Arshdeep can take comfort from the fact that he is by no means the first cricketer to make a big mistake. Even Virat Kohli has faced these dark times in the past. “Anyone can make a mistake under pressure. When I played my first game against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, I got out to Shahid Afridi playing a very bad shot. I could not sleep; I stared at the room ceiling until 5 a.m. I thought my career was over... You must accept the mistake, address it and even look forward to being in the same pressure situation the next time,” Kohli said.
India will be pleased that Kohli has found some runs in this campaign. With two successive fifties, Kohli is showing signs of regaining his touch. K.L. Rahul adopted an attacking approach on Sunday, an improvement over his scratchy stint in the Hong Kong game.
The team combination continues to pose a challenge. Axar Patel, a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja, did not feature against Pakistan. India drafted Ravi Bishnoi in, as the second legspinner alongside Yuzvendra Chahal. Rishabh Pant was picked as the wicketkeeper-batter ahead of Dinesh Karthik, despite the latter having faced just one delivery in this tournament. Batter Deepak Hooda got a game, while in the absence of the indisposed Avesh Khan, all-rounder Hardik Pandya was slotted as the third seamer.
It did not help that fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar had an off day, conceding 40 runs in his four overs. Chahal and Pandya were expensive as well. It remains to be seen if more changes in the playing eleven are in the offing, despite head coach Rahul Dravid’s assertion that the period of experimentation is over.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, enters this fixture on the back of a four-wicket win over Afghanistan on Saturday. Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa made handy contributions as the side chased 176 with five balls to spare. In Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka boasts of two premier spinners.