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T20 WC: Looking at three-spin attack against New Zealand

With dew factor in play on slow pitches in evening, India likely to play safe against New Zealand on Sunday
 

Published: 29th October 2021 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2021 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Flexible and selection based on conditions in the bowling department, and picking the right combination that would suit the surface have turned India’s biggest strength over the years. The presence of a good crop of pacers and spinners to go with the variety they bring in has allowed India the freedom to do so without worrying too much about the end result. As they prepare to take on New Zealand in a crucial Group 2 game in Super 12s at the T20 World Cup, India are keeping their options open of playing three spinners so that it takes toss, pitch, and dew factor out of the equation.

In a tournament where they are the hosts, India have been handicapped because of external factors like scheduling, which sees them play all their matches during the prime-time, that is evening. While it ensures India won’t play any matches in the unforgiving afternoon heat, their matches in the evening pose a different threat —  the dew, especially in the second half of the innings. In each of the evening matches, teams winning the toss have preferred to chase and have come out on top.

With toss and conditions not in control, teams batting first have been at a disadvantage even before a ball is bowled. And unless teams get a total in the excess of 160, it just gets easy for the teams batting second to chase even on those slow pitches. Prior to the T20 World Cup, India’s plan centred around spinners, a reason they picked as many as five in their squad before the uncertainty over Hardik Pandya’s ability to bowl, made them include Shardul Thakur in place of Axar Patel. And Washington Sundar’s absence – a bowler they had earmarked as one for powerplay – was a big blow.

As India await New Zealand in a crucial match, where they need a win to avoid tricky permutation and combinations, they are exploring the possibility of including three spinners in their XI for the match in Dubai. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin could come in place of Mohammed Shami or Bhuvneshwar Kumar as India believe spin would be decisive factor against this Kiwi batting line-up.

By this India believe it will help them field their strongest XI and have an attack that will suit the condition, irrespective of dew factor should they bowl second.  With the second innings beginning around 7.30 pm local time, one of their spinners can easily bowl in the powerplay before the dew sets in. And by this it will also ensure New Zealand’s batting line-up face spin from one end for a major part of the innings. Had Pandya been fit, this would have been India’s template from the word go. But his fitness was always a concern.Full story: newindianexpress.com



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