India played the wrong XI in Wellington T20I
Did India need Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik together?

At the onset, I must admit that India’s playing XI in the first Twenty20 international against New Zealand baffled me.

This defeat may be a one-off but what I couldn’t fathom was the thought process of having three wicketkeepers and three allrounders in the playing XI. My aversion is not because of the result but the thought process. (READ MORE: 1st T20I: New Zealand crush India by record 80 runs)

The 80-run defeat was a lesson for anyone who got ecstatic after learning of India’s playing XI.  “Never judge a book by its cover,” as the saying goes.

On paper, seeing a line that until No 9 or one that includes seven bowlers can create an illusion – or should I say a false sense of security – that would hardly ever serve any purpose. Allrounders are indeed crucial to the balance of the side but in my view just one seam-bowling allrounder is good enough.

I also understand that the bowling unit of India’s T20I squad is quite inexperienced and it would be cruel to criticise them too much. It would have been better to have some cover for the young bowlers and it is beyond my comprehension why a T20 match would require more than seven batsmen.

Vijay Shankar batted at No 4, scored 27 off 18 balls, and did not bowl.
Vijay Shankar batted at No 4, scored 27 off 18 balls, and did not bowl. © AFP

My choice at No 8 is Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He would be like my marker. Numbers 9, 10 and 11 would be specialist bowlers and I wouldn’t be too bothered whether they are capable enough with the willow. For me, they are there to take wickets. (READ MORE: We were outplayed in all departments: Rohit Sharma)

Looking at the squad and to a certain extent the playing XI , a question pops up: Are the selectors preparing for white-ball cricket post the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup?

After this summer’s 50-over showpiece event, India’s ODI side will look a lot different from its current avatar and when I see the T20 squad, I find quite a few faces that might be regular post the World Cup. I think it’s a good idea that the younger lot is blooded in through the T20 format, and let’s not forget the next T20 World Cup in in 2020.

As soon as the 50-over World Cup is over, the focus as far as white-ball cricket is concerned will shift to the next big tournament in Australia.

I would not be too harsh on the team after the loss in Wellington on Wednesday but I certainly would like to see the change in the team for the next game, and the management show a little more faith in the batsmen.