Well, I’m not an expert to talk about this and possibly Kohli knows it better. I’m writing this as a fan, like every one of you who couldn’t take India’s loss well despite appreciating the West Indies performance.
After winning the toss, Indian captain Virat Kohli said he wanted to bat first as well. Did the pitch act differently than what Kohli thought?
India did not bat as expected, losing three early wickets. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul got out while expecting the delivery to be faster but unfortunately, the West Indies bowlers made use of the slowness of the pitch right.
Slower back of length deliveries worked out well for West Indies. However, the Indian team did not bowl at the right areas and also did not vary the speed as well.
The Indian tried to hit the ball harder, especially the short ones. On the other hand, Hope made sure either to play it along the ground or just leave it. Hetmyer’s power helped the ball to sail over.
Not batting through the innings
The best part of West Indies innings was how they calculated, especially Shai Hope, well. According to the plans, Hope had to bat till the final delivery. In the Indian team though, we had two batters who are almost similar to Hope and Hetmyer, got starts but couldn’t convert them to a big score. Once again, the players did not bat through.
Kedhar Jadhav’s batting:
The Indian all-rounder was cautious about not picking up yet another hamstring that he couldn’t convert ones to twos and twos to threes in multiple occasions. Jadeja is a kind of player who loves to put the opposition under pressure by picking up quick runs and during that partnership, his performance was limited because of Jadhav.
Adding a point to that, I personally would have preferred sending Dube in earlier, ahead of Jadhav in the match. He is a handy batter, something we witnessed in the T20I series. At least, it would have helped Jadeja to pick that extra run, something he kept searching.
Fifth bowler option:
Shivam Dube was leaking runs and India had no other go than giving the ball back to him. But again, the team could have tried Jadhav a bit more because of his experience and his ability to pick up wickets. Also, if India did not plan their bowling changes well as they ended up with three or so overs from Dube in the final stage. Kohli should have planned in such a way that he finished off his overs in the middle rather than taking him to that far. Again, it could have worked some other day. Dube could have done wonders. It was just not his day.
I would have preferred playing with Chahal instead of Yadav. This pitch suits him more. Though he could have given a few big hits, he tempts the batter to go for more, ending up giving away their wicket.
Drop Catches and field placement:
India dropped two catches which could have impacted the result. One was Rohit Sharma at the slip. Of course, it was a difficult take but it would have been brilliant if he had pulled it off.
The next one was from Shreyas Iyer who almost got rid of Hetmyer. Even though he got over his ton at that time, the catch could have been a turning point.
Of course, this line-up is not the best of the Indian team. They have two to three spots to be filled. Talking about the spots, Shreyas Iyer at number four is doing wonders for the team and is a great sign.
Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, changed his stance a bit and it is helping him to free his arm more, especially in the offside.
Now, coming to Vizag, a place Virat Kohli loves, India will be going in with a different strategy and it will be interesting to see if the team perform better to level the series.