As the T20 World Cup looms larger than ever, the Indian cricket team has been in fine touch over the span of the last six T20Is and still with one more to come, India may very well be eyeing a clean sweep of the Irish forces. However, it isn’t just the numbers that have been glaring at everyone’s face. It has also been the impact that Team India has recently created.
The team has been without the likes of their primary players that include Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Yet they managed to level the series with a hard-hitting South Africa and as far as Ireland was concerned, they never stood a chance against India in the series opener. These are all good signs coming together as India slowly heads towards the biennial extravaganza.
With all said and done, India crashed out of the group stages after two crushing defeats in the two opening games against Pakistan and New Zealand. To ensure that this isn’t happening for the second time, India will have to consider all factors to put together the right set of players. However, watching India perform will be definitely be filling a lot of people with hopes.
Let us take a look at five positives that Team India managed from the last few T20Is.
#1 Ishan Kishan hitting his stride
The wicket-keeping batter has been a major puzzle in the Indian batting order. Hos struggles manifolded against West Indies with the southpaw barely able to get his timing and placements right. Even in the opener against South Africa, he would struggle to connect in the initial overs but gradually he would grow into the game and what followed thereafter was sheer carnage. From the second contest, however, the opener seemed to be in full flow and took on the South African bowlers without any hesitation. He now has a clarity on what he is supposed to do and that makes him a much more focused batter than he was. If he manages to continue his intimidating form, India may very well find an extra batter in him.
#2 The return of Dinesh Karthik
It is the return of RCB’s Finisher Supreme to the national side that has totally changed the equation of the Indian middle-order. Karthik played out an excellent IPL with a strike rate of 183 while his exploits for Team India against South Africa were equally noble. In the second contest against South Africa, he would chime in with a crucial rescue act while in the fourth contest of the series he would inflict some serious damage on the opposition. Dinesh Karthik has been a man to watch out for and with him being in the side, India’s hunt for the perfect finisher may very well come to an end.
#3 Hardik Pandya in his new avatar
Ever since his return to the national team, the hard-hitting all-rounder, Pandya has been in mesmerizing form and the way he has blended his calm and aggression, the way he has shown control over his innings is something to learn from. He is not the same brash middle-order pinch-hitter who only knew to hit. He is much more matured and he is cool and calm as a cucumber. He knows exactly when to accelerate and just before things may slip out, he can very well turn the heat. However, the best part about him now is that he is much more focused, he is much more serious and he is willing to take on that extra mile. The captaincy for Gujarat Titans has somehow unlocked a new version of Pandya that was concealed deep within and his presence in the side can alleviate the fears of the Indian middle-order conundrum.
#4 Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming out in a much more menacing incarnation
The medium-fast bowler has produced one ripper after the other and the kind of performances that he has strung together is bound to stun the entire world. The clinical precision in his line and lengths and the amount of drift that he has produced is absolutely mind-bending and he continues to impress heavily. The way he would get the better of Andrew Balbirnie in the series opener against Ireland is simply a ballad to his screaming greatness.
#5 Harshal raising hopes in the death overs
Another Challenger spreading a web of dominance as he continues to be a hotshot in the death overs. Known for his varying pace, Harshal has been in reckoning form and the kind of damage that he has inflicted in terms of economy and number of wickets claimed is one of the primary reasons why he will be very crucial to the Indian side. Currently, its just him who is managing the responsibilities to keep it economical in the death. Now add the combination of Shami and Bumrah and bam!