India’s captain Virat Kohli has made headlines when he has clearly stated that he was a big fan of playing 5 bowlers in a Test match back in 2015. However, he seems to have become a fan of playing 5 bowlers in the shortest format of the game as well. One of the taking points of the ongoing T20I series between India and England has been the fact that Kohli has gone into the last 3 T20I matches with only 5 bowlers. This is generally done when you want to strengthen your batting. Does India really need to strengthen their already strong batting? Can India play only 5 bowlers in the T20I WC? Is Virat taking too much risk by playing only 5 bowlers in team?
With five bowlers and dew playing against their plans, India’s bowlers had a massive job up their sleeves against a star-studded England lineup. The Indian pacers were on the money with Bhuvneshwar picking up Jos Buttler cheaply in a fine opening spell while Hardik Pandya made it uncomfortable for the batters with his fine mix of slower balls. Despite a resurgence set by the menacing Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, India chipped in with the wickets at the right moments. In the end, the team that played well won and it is India who have won the game to square off the series 2-2 with the decider to play now. But a sheer nail-biter of a game as England kept the home team on their toes till the last ball of the game. Chasing a huge total in excess of 180 runs need a strong solid opening partnership. However will this tactic work every time? Wouldn’t it put the added pressure on Hardik Pandya, who happens to be India’s fifth bowler. It would also put a lot of pressure on Virat Kohli as you’d need a sixth bowler more often than not.
Hardik had made the revelation during an interview with the host broadcaster ahead of the first T20I at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The news of Hardik Pandya being fit to resume bowling is a massive boost for Team India, who struggled with the lack of fifth bowling action in Australia. It is a process,” Pandya said when asked where he was with respect to a return to the bowling crease. “I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100% of my bowling capacity for the most important games. The World Cups are coming. More crucial series are coming. Whenever it is required” said Hardik Pandya during an old interview. The absence of Pandya the bowler would hurt India all the more because they have no part-timer to hold the fort for the time being. Ravindra Jadeja is the only three-dimensional player in the reckoning and if Kohli wants to play only 5 bowlers, he would have to hope that Hardik Pandya remains fit.