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The way T20 cricket is going now, you want a lot more intent: Bishop

Since June this year, India have embraced a new, attacking batting approach, a big departure from their safety-first path which caused an early exit from the T20 World Cup last year.

Indian bowler Mohd. Siraj with teammates celebrates the wicket of West Indies' Shai Diego Hope during the first ODI cricket match between India and West Indies, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)

Indian bowler Mohd. Siraj with teammates celebrates the wicket of West Indies' Shai Diego Hope during the first ODI cricket match between India and West Indies, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)

IANS Port of Spain (Trinidad)
Since the Delhi T20I against South Africa in June this year, India have embraced a new, attacking batting approach, a big departure from their safety-first path which caused an early exit from the Men's T20 World Cup last year.
 
Going hard on the ball from the word go by the Indian batters irrespective of how the final result has come out has impressed former West Indies pacer-turned-commentator Ian Bishop.
"What was pleasing to see in that England (T20I) series was the high level of intent from the top-order. It didn't always come off, even in ODI cricket. But I think that's the way game has been heading ever since England held the charge in 50-over cricket in the last World Cup.
"The way T20 cricket is going now, you want a lot more intent. India would probably reflect on the T20 World Cup last year and say, 'We were a little over-cautious. We can't win tournaments playing like that; we got to be brave'," said Bishop in an exclusive interview with IANS.
In the second and third T20I matches against England, India got Rishabh Pant to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma. With the Men's T20 World Cup less three months away, Bishop liked the intent shown by India till now and feels they have got options to decide the make-up of their top-order.
"So, trying Pant at the top is not a bad thing. You got to find out does he fit because he definitely has the intent. But if that doesn't work out after a few games, you got other options like the Ishan Kishans of this world. He can come in and slot in there."
"You have got KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma as well; so, there are a number of options India can use. I like the intent; that's heading in the right direction and they will find out who fits better as they go through next month or so."
In deciding the top-order for the T20 World Cup, India also need to see where their talismanic batter Virat Kohli fits in. Kohli has been in a prolonged lean patch and hasn't scored an international century since November 2019. In the tour of England, Kohli couldn't score a half-century and is not a part of the trip to the Caribbean. Bishop reckons Kohli should get a longer rein to rediscover form.
"Analysis of any player is part of the game. But Virat Kohli has been an outstanding player for a great length of time. So, no one should question this personality in the sense of his commitment to the game. He's been a great player and we can't forget that. We don't know what the future holds or even Virat knows what his next year in the game holds."
"He's trying his best to get back to some level of form. India is right in giving him more time to find out if he can reach those heavy heights and levels by his own standards. That may happen when he comes back for the next series. Guys like that have earned a right for an extended run to find out whether they can rekindle their form."
West Indies, on the other hand, have been on a rebuild mode since their Super 10 exit in last year's T20 World Cup. With many of their stalwarts like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Chris Gayle moving on, skipper Nicholas Pooran and big-hitter Rovman Powell have been shouldering the majority of batting duties.
With left-handed batter Shimron Hetmyer recently passing his fitness test, the West Indies batting stocks are in store for a potential huge boost ahead of the T20Is against India. Bishop believes if Hetmyer and Evin Lewis, who hasn't played for the two-time World Cup winners since last year due to fitness concerns, are brought back in T20I fold, then the batting gets a more formidable look.
"The area, of course, will be the focus on their batting because they have lost n number of great players. Kieron Pollard has retired from international cricket, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, guys who have won World Cups. I don't know the status of Andre Russell and whether he will be available. From the West Indies point of view, they need to get Shimron Hetmyer back, fit and firing. If they can get Hetmyer, who I think is an outstanding white-ball player and is still learning his game in red-ball, if he chooses to continue playing it."
"If they get Evin Lewis back, I don't know what his status is. But when you add those two guys into the mix with Nicholas Pooran at his best, with someone like a Rovman Powell, then you can mix someone like Romario Shepherd or Odean Smith as they develop. It's quite a deep batting line-up with Akeal Hosein or even Gudakesh Motie and Hayden Walsh Jr."
"Then in the bowling, you have Alzarri Joseph, who hasn't played yet. But he will come into contention. I believe that the West Indies are building in the right direction with their T20 game. Whether they have enough time on their hands to be at peak form by the time T20 World Cup comes along, time will tell but I think they are slowly building in right direction."--IANS
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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 28 2022 | 12:19 PM IST

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