India made a group stage exit in the T20 World Cup for the first time since 2012. They played the final in 2014 while making it to the semi-finals in 2016. Their performance in 2221 was nowhere close to what it was in the previous two editions. Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra has suggested three major changes India needs to make heading into the 2022 World Cup.
Analysing India’s campaign in 2021, Aakash Chopra pointed out 3 key areas to work on for Team India. He first said that the team needs to have a clarity of understanding with the players they pick and choose for the T20 World Cup. He cited examples of Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar to illustrate it better.
“The first thing is consistency and clarity in selection. Yuzi Chahal was our No.1 spinner in the T20s for the last 4-5 years… we dropped him just ahead of the World Cup and then grabbed him again. What is this? It makes absolutely no sense to leave out your primary spinner. Then you gave Rahul Chahar just one game and left him too. Players are not made but wasted like this. Making players is difficult and wasting them is easy… Rahul Chahar will think, ‘What did I do wrong?’ Varun Chakravarthy will think, ‘What did I do wrong to go from mystery to history in one week?’ What is this? Consistency in selection is very, very important” said Chopra.
The former Indian batsman’s second suggestion is for Team India to have a distinctive ‘identity’ or ‘philosophy’ in white-ball cricket, to match teams like England, Australia or Pakistan.
“Second is the brand of cricket. We don’t have an identity in white-ball cricket. What is our style of play? With New Zealand, there is a process and planning that goes behind a proper chess game. England play bravely and freely. Even if their bowling is a bit light they don’t stop hitting. Pakistan too has a mix of bowling variations, fast bowlers who get you wickets with the new ball and then they will try to squeeze you dry. We don’t have any philosophy. We are just a good team which will win if it plays good. So we need to develop that philosophy.”
His final suggestion is about giving clarity to the players regarding their roles in the team. Here he took the example of Ventakesh Iyer and said that he opened in the IPL for KKR and was successful. However, the BCCI wants to use him as a finisher against New Zealand.
“We also need more clarity in roles. Pick players for their specific roles or don’t pick them at all. You picked Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana and then dropped them. Now you have picked Venkatesh Iyer – what if you drop him after some time? And you will drop him after playing him in a position where he hasn’t scored runs. I believe players should be selected only for the positions where they have performed” concluded Chopra.