It’s true, India are among top 2 in Tests and ODIs, but drop to No 5 in T20Is, and that’s shocking as India are the home of hugely popular IPL. India have dominated Tests and ODIs recently, but are shockingly placed in the middle of the table in T20Is. Pakistan are at No 1 despite going through a slump in form in the shortest format of the game.
But what makes India sit at No 5 despite having one of the best batting and bowling line-ups in world cricket. With two back-to-back World T20s happening from next year, India must analyse the reasons and counter the challenges to get back to top.
Cricwizz takes a look at reasons why India stand so low in T20Is.
Step-motherly treatment to T20Is
For some reasons, India have not given importance to T20Is in the last few years as their main focus has been Test cricket and ODIs. India focussed on Test cricket to retain their No 1 rank, while they targeted ODIs to achieve glory in 2019 World Cup.
Although they succeeded in the first mission, they faltered in World Cup, getting knocked out in the semis.
And during this phase, T20Is were relegated to the background despite all Indian players plying their trade in IPL. Indian skipper Virat Kohli too has preferred Tests as his ideal format.
But now, Team India is trying to improve the situation as two consecutive World T20s will be held from next year. And hence, there’s more talk about building a core group for the mega event. The focus is back on T20Is and hopefully, India rankings will improve.
Virat Kohli has been rested frequently from T20Is
Captain Kohli has been religiously rested from the limited-overs cricket to help him recover from a gruelling schedule. Although stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has done a splendid job in Kohli’s absence, replacing a star player is not easy.
Kohli’s regular absence from T20Is shows India were not keen on improving their T20I record until they were woken out of slumber ahead of two World T20s from next year. Rohit has maintained India must improve in T20Is to match up to their ranks in other formats.
Resting first-choice bowlers too
Some star players such as Mohammed Shami has not played T20Is for long despite performing well in Tests. He was almost branded as Test specialists until he was recalled for the limited-overs series against West Indies, after India seamer Khaleel Ahmed didn’t fare well in Bangladesh series.
Besides, India have persisted with Washington Sundar, playing him ahead of Ravindra Jadeja at times. The logic or the lack of it perplexing. They have also not persisted with their main spinner YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav consistently.
India looked to have gone for a creating a reserve bench for bowlers in T20Is, but with World T20I coming next year, this policy may well be dropped for the greater cause of the team.
Experiment ahead of winning?
In the Bengaluru T20I against South Africa, India chose to field first despite it being a perfect ground to chase down any total. Kohli said he wants to test his players while defending a score.
The call backfired and India succumbed to a loss as South Africa bounced back to level the series.
India have done a few more experiments like these and that has hurt their chances. They have put experiments ahead of winning and that has not helped their cause to rise in T20I rankings.
India lack ambition in T20Is
It won’t be wrong to say India lack ambition in Tests. The team management has prioritised Tests followed by ODIs and then T20Is. It’s shocking coming from a nation that has produced the richest T20 event in IPL, which is a dream tournament for most cricketers these days.
But hopefully, things will change with every nation focussing on T20 cricket ahead of two World T20s in the next two years.