On a day which sees two titans of world tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, face off in a Grand Slam final and after a long time too, the 2nd T20 between India and England at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur is unlikely to carry much significance for a lot of sports enthusiasts, despite it being a do or die match for the Virat Kohli-led India. The India vs. England second T20I, to be played at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur at 7pm tonight, might not be significant if you are a sports enthusiast who follows one, two, three, or more sports and/or if you feel this T20I series between India and England is, on the whole, inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
And you are right to feel the way you do! For your benefit, I just hope that the Australian Open Men’s final lives up to the billing, unlike its counterpart yesterday, as the world witnessed Serena Williams steamroll her elder sister on the way to her 23rd slam in the Open era.
Shifting focus to cricket and more specifically the 2nd T20 between India and England tonight, the visitors gained a psychological edge over their hosts with their seven-wicket win on Republic Day. India, even with quality players and experienced T20 specialists at their disposal, looked an ordinary side and England’s versatility gained them an impressive win which is likely to have given them greater satisfaction than the five-run win in the 3rd ODI in Kolkata must have.
The Poms are unlikely to change their playing XI from the Kanpur T20I and they don’t have to.
India, on the other hand, need at least a couple of changes in personnel.
India’s Playing XI for the 2nd T20 v England
Lokesh Rahul has been unable to get going in the limited-overs series against England. He has played some outrageous strokes at the start of his innings and barring the worldie David Willey produced in the Pune ODI to dismiss KL Rahul, the Karnataka batsman can blame no one but himself. This has been a lean patch for Rahul, who walked into this limited-overs series on the back of good showings in his debut ODI and T20I series for India last year.
If I was a part of the team management, I’ll rest Rahul for the Nagpur T20I. As aforementioned, the stakes for the ongoing T20I series are not high and Rahul could benefit from a rest, after scores of 8, 5, 11, and 8 so far in four innings.
In place of Rahul, I’d play Rishabh Pant, who is a powerful player for a 19-year-old and also renders the coveted left-right batting combination for India, whose new limited-overs skipper can once again open the batting.
The other change I would make is in the bowling department, where another great player for India in 2016, has had a tough series with the ball. The player I am talking about is Jasprit Bumrah, who has been extremely expensive, vindicated by his economy rate of 7.86 in the three-ODI series and a bowling average of over 45.
He was taken for plenty of runs in the 1st T20I too and in my opinion, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a better foil for Ashish Nehra currently and the UP seamer also bowls well with the new white kookaburra ball. Under lights, Bhuvneshwar will likely carry a lot more of a threat as well.
India’s ideal playing XI for the 2nd T20 in full: Virat Kohli*, Rishabh Pant, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parvez Rasool, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ashish Nehra.
Actual Indian playing XI for the 2nd T20 vs. England: Virat Kohli*, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Amit Mishra (Parvez Rasool), Jasprit Bumrah, and Ashish Nehra.