Legendary Sunil Gavaskar believes senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s poor performance in the death overs is a “real problem” for India heading into the 2022 T20 World Cup next month. Bhuvneshwar has lost quite a few runs on death in recent games. (More cricket news)
His 16th run and 19th over allowed Australia to chase a record 209 in the first T20I at Mohali on Tuesday night. “I don’t think there was too much dew. We didn’t see the fielders or bowlers trying to use the towel to try and dry their fingers. That is not an excuse.
“We didn’t bowl well. Like the 19th over… that’s really worrying,” Gavaskar said on Sports Today. “Someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar runs every time he is expected.
“In 18 deliveries he has given away 49 runs in three games against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and now Australia. It’s almost three runs per ball. Someone of his experience and caliber, you expect him to give 35-36 runs in those 18 deliveries. This is really an area of concern.”
The former skipper said India had not been able to defend good overall results but hoped the return of a fit Jasprit Bumrah would strengthen the bowling department. Bumrah has been out of action since the limited-overs series against England in early July this year as he recovers from an old back injury.
“What we have seen in recent years is that it has been one of the areas where India has suffered. They couldn’t defend their good results,” said Gavaskar. “If Bumrah comes in maybe it could be a very different situation because he gets wickets up front. India didn’t get these today (Tuesday) as Australia got off to a flying start.
“Nevertheless, it is only the first game. Don’t forget, Australia are world champions. Extraordinary things are expected of them.” Former head coach Ravi Shastri also criticized India in the first T20I for its “careless field work”.
Indian fielders defended 208 and dropped as many as three catches, including Cameron Green (61 balls from 30) and Matthew Wade (45 not off balls from 21). “If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, there is youth and there is experience. I feel the youth is missing here and hence the field,” said Shastri, who was in the comment box.
“If you look at the last five to six years, I think this team cannot compete with any of the top teams in terms of the field. And that can go badly in big tournaments. That means you as the batting side have to get those 15-20 runs game after game because when you look around the field, where is brilliance? There is no Jadeja. Where’s that X-Factor?”
Axar Patel was the first offender when he dropped a regular catch in deep mid-wicket to give Green a life when he was at 42. KL Rahul then didn’t take a long-off chance in the next over. The catch that proved costly, however, was that of Matthew Wade, who was dropped by Harshal Patel in his own bowling in the 18th over when the batter was up 1.
Wade went on to post an unbeaten 45 of 21 balls to take Australia home with four balls. “What disappointed me today was the standard of the field. I mean, it looks sloppy and I think you need a big upswing when it comes to the field when you have to beat big teams in big competitions,” Shastri said. India meets Australia in the second T20I in Nagpur on Friday.