Former India player Wasim Jaffer has opined that Team India cannot go into the 2024 T20 World Cup with the current template of having only seven batters in the playing XI. As per him, having a tail from No. 8 to No. 11 is unacceptable by current T20I standards as well. However, India went down to West Indies by eight wickets in the deciding T20I in Florida on Sunday, thereby losing the series by a 2-3 as well.
In a post-match discussion on ESPNcricinfo, Jaffer said: “Losing Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill within that powerplay, that was a big setback. We all know that India only bats till No. 7. The last four don’t contribute much at all. They don’t have that boundary-hitting or six-hitting ability. When you lose two to three wickets, the guys coming in can’t play freely. It adds a lot of pressure. If we are five down, the tail starts coming. That’s exactly what has happened in the games that we have lost. That is a big concern for India. The batting hasn’t clicked. Suryakumar Yadav played well, but nobody else chipped in.”
The veteran further added that going in with seven batters puts additional pressure on the batting order in case of a poor start. Notably, Suryakumar top-scored for India with 61 off 45 in the fifth T20I. Apart from him, Tilak Varma also stepped up with the at.
“The top seven has to bat the bulk of the overs. Sometimes, when you go with that mindset, it doesn’t help you. India need to address this issue. Within 10 months’ time, India will be playing the World Cup here. This can’t be the template. Our batting needs to come till at least No. 8, possibly No. 9 – somebody who can tonk the ball,” the former opener stated.
“We need to look at the guys who can bat and bowl. Shivam Dube, Venkatesh Iyer, Washington Sundar, we need to groom them for the coming World Cup. I would put in Shahrukh Khan’s name as well. He bowls off-spin and can be that finisher also. Arshdeep [Singh] at least contributed something in this series, but Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar or even Kuldeep Yadav, those guys need to improve their batting. Harbhajan Singh or Irfan Pathan were similar when they entered international cricket, but they batted for hours and hours and improved their batting,” Wasim Jaffer concluded.