Thiruvananthapuram. The Indian team’s performance in defending the target in T20 Internationals has been disappointing but batting coach Vikram Rathour surprisingly cited ‘dew’ as one of the reasons, which was not the case during the recently concluded Asia Cup. India has played six T20 Internationals since the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, losing three and winning three. India had to face all three defeats against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia while defending the target. Contrary to Rathod’s claims, no member of the Indian team who spoke to the media after the defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai blamed the dew, which has made defending the score difficult.
Vikram Rathour said on the eve of the first T20 against South Africa here, “We are working towards doing better while defending the target but to be fair to our bowlers, the toss played an important role. Every time we failed to defend the target, these were the places where the dew happens, which makes it easier to chase.
Rathod was probably referring to the match against Australia in Mohali where India failed to defend the 200-plus target. He is sympathetic towards bowlers who have faced criticism in the recent past. The former India Test opener said, “I will not take a harsh stand on the bowlers as they have been able to take the match till the last over, every time, when we were defending the target. Of course we are doing very well but hopefully we will be better.”
The batting coach also did not agree that India were not able to give big enough targets when sent to bat first. When asked whether the batsmen at the crease decide the probables, the coach replied, “Sure, it depends on the surface we are playing on but when you say we didn’t score well If so, I don’t agree with that.”
“I think batting first was one of the concerns during the last T20 World Cup but since then whenever we batted first we have scored competitive scores or better. So I don’t think it is an issue.”
The batting coach also said that the team management never tries to coach the players playing international cricket but encourages them to play according to their strong sides. A player like Arshdeep Singh is always asked to go according to his plans.
“At this stage we are not doing them anything. Arsh (Arshdeep Singh) has done very well in the death overs in IPL so we only support him to follow the plans. They know where each batsman has to bowl and follow their plans.
The Indian top-order, comprising KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, has faced a lot of criticism for its outdated approach in T20 Internationals but Rathod is happy with the change in mindset since the last ICC tournament.
“The way we are batting it shows that there is a clear change. The attitude has changed, we are trying to be more aggressive. We are playing with a better strike rate and more passion, that is quite clear. We have done well as a batting unit.”
Giving players more time to play in the T20 World Cup is a priority while the other challenge is adjusting to the Australian conditions. Rathod said, “The biggest challenge will be for us to adjust to the Australian conditions. We want to give maximum opportunities to those who play in the World Cup but how it will happen depends on the situation of the match.”
Approach has changed a bit, we’re being more aggressive when we’re in there. We’re playing with better strike rate & more intent. That’s pretty evident since last World Cup. As a batting unit, we’ve done well every time we’ve batted first: Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour
— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2022
Rathore said, “When you say we are not able to score, I do not agree. Since the last T20 World Cup, we have been scoring equal or plus par every time we bat first… I think there is a very clear change in the way we are batting.
“The approach has changed a bit, we are more aggressive when we are there. We are playing with a better strike rate and more intent. This has been quite evident since the last World Cup. As a batting unit, we have done well every time we batted first.
The batting coach said, “Arsh (Arshdeep Singh), Shahbaz (Ahmed) have joined the team and we are expecting Shreyas (Iyer) to be here by evening. Who plays in the XI will be decided before the game tomorrow.” (with agency input)