After Team India’s embarrassing loss to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup game between the sides on Sunday, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has questioned the game plan of the Men in Blue. Akhtar asked the reason behind sending opener batter Rohit Sharma at number 3 in the game against the Kiwis at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
After Virat Kohli and company got an invitation to bat first, Ishan Kishan joining KL Rahul to open the innings raised a few eyebrows. And the silent critics soon lambasted Team India and their strategy for the game when the batters kept falling like a pack of cards. New Zealand, on the other, cashed in on every single opportunity to outplay their opponents, who were being touted as the favourites to win the T20 World Cup trophy ahead of the mega event.
“Why did they open with Ishan Kishan?” – Shoaib Akhtar
Apart from slamming the Men in Blue for not sending Rohit Sharma as opener, the former Pakistan pacer also asked on why Hardik Pandya was brought to bowling so late. Notably, Hardik came to bowl in the 12th over of the New Zealand innings with the Kiwis needing just 22 runs to win.
“I don’t know with what mindset and attitude they were playing. Why did Rohit bat at 3, why did they open with Ishan Kishan? Hardik Pandya, bowling pretty late in the innings, should’ve bowled earlier. I have no idea whatsoever about India’s game plan. It was a completely lost Indian squad,” Akhtar said on YouTube channel.
He added that the pressure from the media also played a big role in India’s mediocre performance in the game. Team India scored mere 110 runs as Ravindra Jadeja with his unbeaten 26 off 19 was the highest scorer for the side.
“It never seemed as if India turned up for this game or not. Average performance by Team India. After all the hype and pressure from the Indian media, I knew that the team would struggle. Again, the team proved to be a weak bowling side,” Akhtar added.
Virat Kohli and company are almost out of the semi-final race and they need a of permutations and combinations to go in their favour to enter the knockout stage. Here is how India can still qualify for semifinal of T20 World Cup 2021.