Taking the rhythm of the ball can be a recurring theme in India's T20 strategy. After eight wicket wins against Bangladesh in Rajkot on Thursday, players are back in the spotlight.
World Twenty20 is less than a year away and, as substitute captain Rohit Sharma said, all matches in the coming months are in preparation for the big event. One of the focus areas will be to hit the bowling combination. This will have to be done quickly. Post Bangladesh, India, is scheduled to play another five bilateral T20 series. With the exception of the New Zealand tour, where India is scheduled to play five T20Is, the rest are three-game rubbers, which means new combinations and new players don't have enough time to prove themselves.
When it comes to the spinning section of the bowling attack, it's a nice headache to have many to choose from. Since World Twenty20 2016, India has experienced 12 spinners. Four of them – Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar – were persisted with more than others. The combination cannot be more varied: a Chinese, a leg spinner, a spinner and an orthodox left arm spinner. Unless something goes terribly wrong from here, Chahal must be India's main rotary in Australia.
"I think we always wanted Chahal to go back to this format, but we know how crucial he is for this team to move on and he showed how important he can be in the middle of the game even when the scouts are ready," said Rohit Sharma. after the defeat. in Delhi on the first T20I against Bangladesh.
What ensures Chahal is his confidence in midfield – he doesn't mind giving the ball air despite being hit or trying to disrupt the batters with his googly.
But it's their change of pace that leaves the scouts in a mess, says spinning partner Sundar.
“The way he (Chahal) changes his pace and he knows what the beater will try to do and which beater will hit where. Different scouts will have different plans, but he's very smart. He is very calm and composed under pressure, ”Sundar said after his victory in Rajkot on Thursday.
Expect spinners to get plenty of space on India's smaller terrain, but this change of pace may be a masterful strategy in Australia, where the limits are higher and the outfields slower.
"Whenever I play, I change the pace because otherwise it gets easy for the scouts," Chahal said before the second T20I. "The shutter was so (in Delhi) that if you vary the pace, it will be difficult for the batters because the ball was spinning, so you need to vary the length according to the batter."
Not only spinners, even markers have experienced slower balls more. The ball with which Khaleel Ahmed dismissed Afif Hossain in Rajkot was fuller and slower, inducing a slice that was originally meant to be a loft over the covers. In the last match, Deepak Chahar tried a slower bouncer, causing Mohammad Naim to pull early. Sundar has also been trying slower, but Chahal's control over this particular skill is good news for India. Like when he lured Mushfiqur Rahim with a slower ball in Delhi; Rahim advanced to defend but was defeated on all sides by the spin.
"He (Chahal) gets in the middle of the break, takes 2-3 wickets and completely changes the game," said Sundar.
What Chahal needs, getting into the rest of the T20 series, is more support from the other spinners. Playing two spinners in Australia or New Zealand can be a tough choice to make, but maybe that's what India needs to do to find Chahal's ideal role.
"The 11 who are playing now, and the players on the 15-member team know their roles, it's not like someone leaves after playing a game or two," Chahal said before Rajkot's departure. “Some matches may go wrong, but there is no pressure from management. The only thing is that we should not repeat the mistakes. "