VVS Laxman, former Indian batsman, was left impressed by the manner of India’s comprehensive victories in the last three matches of the T20 World Cup against minnows Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia that helped the team to sign off on a high.
On a winning note, Virat Kohli ended his stint as India’s 20-overs captain after his eliminated side beat Namibia by 9 wickets on Monday. New Zealand and Pakistan, the two sides India lost against, have qualified for the semi-finals from Group 2.
VVS Laxman: India can Take Lessons From Their Abortive Run At 2021 T20I World Cup And Make Necessary Corrections
India registered comprehensive wins against Afghanistan, Scotland, and later Namibia. However, New Zealand’s triumph over Afghanistan on Sunday ended their slim semi-final qualification hopes.
In his column, VVS Laxman wrote, “Yet another World Cup gone by, yet another dream unfulfilled. India has every reason to look back at their campaign in the UAE with disappointment but I am a firm believer that every adversity presents an opportunity.
“If India can take the lessons from their abortive run at the T20 World Cup on board and make the necessary course correction, some goodwill still has come out of the last fortnight.”
“The signs are promising already. After being tentative with the bat in the first two matches, India shed their inhibitions and played the brand of cricket they are capable of.
“Yes, it might have been against the less experienced and pedigreed teams, but you are looking for intent and not so much performance.”
“That intent manifested itself not just in breathtaking batting but also in incisive bowling. R Ashwin’s inclusion had a big part to play in the latter because he naturally looks for wickets. Reunited with his old mate, Ravindra Jadeja too looked a bowler transformed as they hunted as a pack,” VVS Laxman added.
VVS Laxman hoped that the new coach-captain combination of Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma would help India in performing better in the next T20 World Cup, slated in 2022.
“With the next T20 World Cup less than a year away, I am sure India will have identified a template that new coach Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma, all set to become the next captain, will encourage the team to embrace whole-heartedly. It’s important for India to understand that they can’t afford to keep playing 20-over cricket in the same mould as they would the 50-over game,” VVS Laxman added.
For the forthcoming T20I series against New Zealand, the selectors on Tuesday made a number of changes to the squad that featured in the T20 World Cup, bringing in Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Avesh Khan, and Harshal Patel, while dropping all-rounder Hardik Pandya and spinner Varun Chakravarthy besides resting senior players.
“I do feel two crucial gaps must be addressed post-haste. The first priority will be to invest in a batsman who can bowl a few overs of medium pace, whether that be Venkatesh Iyer or Shivam Dube. This option doesn’t necessarily have to be a back-up to Hardik Pandya but a standalone choice because it will give the captain more flexibility in picking his 11,” VVS Laxman opined.
India’s batting finally clicked against Afghanistan as they racked up the tournament’s highest total of 210-2 and restricted their opponents to 144-7. After that, India cruised to a second consecutive win in the T20 World Cup 2021 as they thumped Scotland by eight wickets, chasing an 86-run target inside 6.3 overs.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets apiece to limit Namibia to 132 for eight before half-centuries from openers Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul helped their side cruise home, not only sending Ravi Shastri off with a win but also Virat Kohli in his final game as T20I captain.
VVS Laxman Acknowledged Contributions Of The Trio Of Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, And R Sridhar
Under Ravi Shastri, India became the first Asian team to win a Test series in Australia (2018-19) and triumphed again Down Under in 2020-21. As a result, India climbed to the top of the Test rankings and reached the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in the 2019-2021 cycle, where they were beaten by New Zealand.
“The other would be zeroing in on two solid pacemen capable of supporting Jasprit Bumrah and capitalizing on the pace and bounce Australia is certain to offer. If one of them is a left-arm who brings a different angle of operation, then all the better.
“The process of identification and grooming must begin immediately so that by the time of the World Cup, these players are comfortable and secure in their roles and aware fully of the responsibilities they are entrusted with.”
“As three long-serving members of the coaching staff move on to their next innings, I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful contributions of Ravi Shastri as well as B Arun and R Sridhar.
“Ravi is an excellent man-manager whose tactical acumen is second to none. His inspirational presence enabled the team to bounce back from setbacks frequently and immediately. He instilled belief, killer instinct, and a never-say-die attitude,” VVS Laxman signed off.
Ravi Shastri, who took up the job of Indian team coach in mid-2017, had ruled out seeking an extension after his tenure expires following the T20 World Cup.