Team India’s worries have increased after the defeat at the hands of South Africa in Perth ground on Sunday. Although there were thrills in this low-scoring match, people are definitely putting a question mark on the plan that Rohit’s team had made for this important tie.
Before the match, Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathore had talked about going to the field without making any change in the team. But when Hooda appeared in place of Akshar on the field, the first question that arose was why there was an extra batsman? That, too, when Team India has yet to show their batting skill in the tournament. Rohit Sharma indicated that he was returning to form by hitting a fifty, but vice-captain KL Rahul’s performance was definitely disappointing. Was Hooda’s inclusion in the team not unfair to Pant? The question being raised was whether Rohit Sharma was under pressure with the South African fast bowlers or whether he felt that facing them at Perth would be a major problem. If so, then Pant should be the first choice for a bouncy track like Perth, because those pitches, where the ball comes easily on the bat and rises to a certain height, suit him. So far as the experience of playing in Australia goes, Pant outdoes Hooda. Pant has played some memorable innings in Australia. Giving priority to Hooda over Pant seems to be a big mistake of Team India’s think tank. And, then, if Hooda was included in the team as a sixth bowling option, why was he not used as a bowler when the lone spinner in Team India was being hit? How can anyone justify to call him to bowl in the 18th over of the match?
In any limited-over match, a captain’s efforts should be not to ask a spinner to bowl after the 15th over of the tie. Hardik Pandya, who was the sixth bowling option, was made the main bowler against South Africa. This strategy was also beyond anybody’s comprehension. Admittedly, he bowled well in the last two matches, but, in such an important match, that, too, on a bouncy track like Perth, asking him to bowl was not a wise decision. Questions have been raised on the inclusion of Dinesh Karthik in the team. His performance has been pathetic in the last three matches. In the match against Pakistan, his performance made everyone feel sorry. Therefore, Pant should have been given a chance. In a big tournament like the World Cup, the poor performance of a player like Rahul is becoming a major concern for the team. The team management must rethink about him. He may be a good batsman and the vice-captain of the team, but the team’s victory is more important than anything else.
As Team India is left with less options now, it cannot afford to do any more experiments. Both its next opponents may be relatively weak, but Team India is also not very confident of sailing through those matches. Ergo, the team should tread a tightrope.