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India to dish out X-factor batsmen in T20Is

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Ahmedabad, March 11 (IANS) While India are No. 2 in T20 International world rankings, they are still not content in being the second best team behind England and are hoping to pack the team with multiple players having the X-factor.

After beating Australia 2-1 in the T20I series Down Under in December, 2020, the Indian team has made massive changes in the batting line-up and brought in proven hard-hitters just like England have, to provide the X-factor.

While wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has found his way into the team thanks to some sparkling performances with the bat in Test matches, India have also included Mumbai Indians’ middle-order batting duo Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. They have also included leg-spinning all-rounder Rahul Tewatia who can hit a few big shots.

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“We have played with a certain kind of pattern in the past. We didn’t probably have a big tournament to work towards but if you look at the squad and the additions we have made to the squad we have tried to address a few things we needed in having specific guys who can be the X-factor with the bat,” said India skipper Virat Kohli while speaking to the media on Thursday.

“We have to cover all those bases. Now it will be interesting to see how they go in these five games we have as a team before the World Cup,” added Kohli.

Batting in a T20 international game has usually seen a batsman hold the innings together and bat long to help the team set a big target.

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However, things may change in the T20I series as the Indian team is looking to go England’s way and are focussing on nurturing batsmen who can start hitting from the word go and not really worry about stabilising the innings even if two or three wickets go down quickly.

“The kind of players we have added to the squad is (meant) to give our batting more depth and not play in the kind of pattern that we have played with in the past. We want to be a side that plays free cricket and not have any baggage of depth, and (depend on) one guy having to bat the whole innings to get to a big total. We have explosive batsmen in the team now, who can change the game at any stage even if you are 2-3 wickets down. This is what we are trying to address (while) picking this squad,” added Kohli.

Kohli, who captains India across all formats and has just led India to a 3-1 Test series win over England, will now lead his team against England in a five-match T20I series that is being considered as a dress rehearsal for the World T20. He promises a positive approach from the players.

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“This time around, you will see guys being a bit more free and expressive in terms of approaching innings more freely and not worrying if we have players to carry on the batting which was the case earlier as we did not have enough depth in batting and were not able to play freely in the first 10-12 overs. I see us being more positive,” added Kohli.

The India skipper also said that this is more or less the squad that will remain intact for the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in India in October-November. Only Ravindra Jadeja will be added to the squad.

“I feel the squad that we have, barring Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) who will come into the squad whenever he is fit, is the most balanced in terms of all the options that we have had to take on the field as and when required.”

–IANS

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