‘Surya’ smashed a crucial 34-ball 50, and Shaw was out for a ‘golden duck’ as India scored a clinical 38-run win in the opening game on Sunday night. With the visa process and other travel formalities set to take time and India yet to win the series, there is a possibility that the Mumbai duo will turn up in the park on Tuesday. However, a source in the BCCI told TOI that “if the team management in England doesn’t want them to risk an injury while playing, then they could be rested from this game.”
Meanwhile, even as India’s performance in the first T20I was almost flawless, there are a few ‘creases’ that coach Rahul Dravid would need to iron out.
The top-most concern has to be the dwindling form of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, especially with the T20 World Cup in UAE in October-November on the horizon.
The 27-year-old hardly looked his usual explosive self while scratching away to a 12-ball 10, took 2-17 in his two overs, and even dropped a catch — surprising for someone considered to be an excellent fielder — in the first T20I. He was off-colour in the ODI series as well.
The other player causing a bit of a worry is Sanju Samson.
The 26-year-old has just not been able to translate his phenomenal talent into something worthwhile at the international level. On Sunday, the ‘keeper-bat looked dangerous while getting 27, but failed to convert his start yet again as he was trapped lbw by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. The Kerala man has now just 113 runs in eight firstname.lastname@example.org to show for all the chances that he has got so far.
What should excite India is the sizzling form of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
On Sunday, the wiry leggie, who gave away just 19 runs in his four overs to choke the Lankans, produced a ‘dream delivery’ which pitched just outside leg-stump and hit the off-stump of Dhananjaya de Silva. After the game, Chahal, who has picked 63 wickets from 49 T20Is, revealed that he had worked on his bowling in the lockdown last year.
“When I was not playing, I worked hard with my bowling coach on where to bowl. (I was trying to figure out) why I was not able to perform in a couple of matches. So, I worked on these even during the lockdown. I bowled with a single wicket (to aim at). I practiced with my friends as to where I should bowl. This type of bowling is my strength. I backed myself before I came to this tour,” he said.
“During the lockdown, I reviewed my bowling but I did not want to make too many changes. I wanted to look at the finer points like which line I must focus more on, whether I should bowl wider or stump-to-stump. I sat with (Bharat) Arun sir,” he said.
Watching videos of his bowling also helped Chahal find his mojo. “I sat with Paras (Mhambrey) and Rahul (Dravid) sir, and saw my videos,” he said.
Sri Lanka put in a fine performance with the ball, but undid that with another bad outing in the T20Is with the bat, as they lost six wickets for 15 runs in the last game.