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The Hindu
The Hindu
Ashwin Achal

India vs West Indies, 2nd T20 | Bishnoi’s entry augments India’s edge as it looks to sew up series

Ravi Bishnoi suffered a few gaffes in his international debut, but he managed to get it together and script a happy ending.

In the early stages of the first T20I against West Indies here on Wednesday, Bishnoi fluffed a catch at long-off to give Nicholas Pooran a life. Later, when Bishnoi bowled his first over, he tested wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant with three wides.

It is to the debutant’s credit that he overcame the early jitters to grab the ‘Man-of-the-match’ award, for a neat two for 17 spell. The spinner will enter the second outing here on Friday thoroughly confident and nerve-free.

Astute captain

It helped that Bishnoi had an astute captain in Rohit Sharma. Aware that the Bishnoi’s stock delivery, the googly, turns a long way, Rohit stationed himself at slip for southpaw Pooran. When the right-hander Roston Chase came on strike, Rohit moved to an unorthodox leg-slip. The move may not have resulted in a wicket, but it was pleasing to note that Bishnoi and Rohit have concrete, customised plans in mind.

Bishnoi and spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal, though both classified as leg-spinners, differ in how they practise the art. Rohit alluded to the variety that Bishnoi offers, stating that he brings “something different” to the table. The skipper was clearly pleased with Bishnoi’s performance, describing him as a “very talented guy”.

The team management will watch Bishnoi’s progress closely, as it tries to identify a core group to do duty in the ICC T20 World Cup later this year.

This delicate team combination puzzle forced Shreyas Iyer to sit out of the first T20I. Shreyas, who only hours before the game was appointed the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, was dropped because he cannot contribute as a bowler. The all-rounder role could be filled by Venkatesh Iyer, at least until Hardik Pandya regains full fitness and makes his return.

The finisher role, so crucial in T20s, was donned perfectly by Suryakumar Yadav. He started his knock with three fours in the first four balls he faced. Most importantly, he took it upon himself to stay unbeaten and complete the chase.

No fancy strokes

Suryakumar also guided Venkatesh through a tricky situation. “I told him (Venkatesh) that there was no need for fancy strokes, and to just play good shots with good intent. He batted really well,” Suryakumar told the host broadcaster.

For West Indies, the disappointing tour continued with a fourth straight loss. The failures of middle-order batters Roston Chase, Rovman Powell and Akeal Hosein cost the team on Wednesday. Chase, a steady batter more suited to the long format, did prove his worth with the ball in hand. His tight off-spin applied the skids on India, but the home side had plenty left in the tank to emerge unscathed.

The teams (from):

India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Rishabh Pant (Vice-capt.), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, and Kuldeep Yadav

West Indies: Kieron Pollard (Capt.), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-capt.), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Kyle Mayers, and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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