Virat Kohli led from the front with a magnificent, unbeaten 61 as India secured a six-wicket win in the third and final Twenty20 International in Sydney to level the three-match series 1-1. The Indian skipper promoted himself back to No.3 after he had dropped himself down to one slot in the Brisbane game which India had lost by four runs. Speaking exclusively to News Nation, former India player Maninder Singh believes that by correcting the mistake done in the previous game immediately, the Indian cricket team is headed in a positive direction and this win will put them in a great mental space for the four-Test series that will begin in Adelaide on December 6.
“It is heartening to see Kohli taking some good decisions. In the Sydney game, he went back to his favorite No.3 position. It was good to see that the mistakes made in England with regards to decision-making were not repeated here. As soon as they made a mistake in Brisbane, they corrected it immediately. The batting order was rectified and the Indian team has shown that they want to learn from mistakes quickly,” Maninder said.
Kohli’s move to No.4 in the Brisbane game was interpreted as a miscalculation as India lost a close game. KL Rahul, who has not had much success in the Twenty20 format since his 101* against England in Manchester, struggled in Brisbane at No.3. In Sydney, he tried desperately hard to play positively but he was undone by the pressure built on him by Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa to depart for a 20-ball 14. Maninder believes Rahul is feeling the pressure of international cricket and failures.
“Rahul is confused on how to bat. In Tests, he has been very uncertain. In T20s, he does not understand how to approach the situation. Maybe it is time for the coach and captain to communicate with Rahul. The job of the coaching staff is to provide confidence to the player and if Rahul gets the confidence, Indian cricket will be in good shape,” Maninder said.
Australia pacers must back Lyon
In the two Twenty20 Internationals, India had trouble against the leg spin of Adam Zampa, who finished with 2/22 in Brisbane and 1/22 in Sydney. The struggles of the Indian batsmen against Zampa will warm the heart of Nathan Lyon, who has consistently troubled India in Tests. Against India, he has taken 65 wickets in 18 Tests and played a major part in Australia’s win over India in Adelaide in 2014 when he picked up 12 wickets. His career-best haul of 8/50 is also against India in Bangalore 2017 but Maninder said support from the other bowlers was necessary.
“Only one spinner to maintain pressure and change the match in Test cricket is difficult. It is easy in T20Is or ODIs. In this current team, Mitchell Starc is there for support but his fitness is a main problem in the last 2-3 years,” Maninder said.
Australia will also be aware that Indians are not great players of spin anymore. However, with the team in great form, Maninder believes India can achieve success in the Test matches.
“Australian team is not that strong at this moment. We are hoping that whatever captain and coach are saying that the team will learn from the mistakes, it gives us hope. We have a chance to beat them in this series but the Aussies are fighters and will not give up quickly,” Maninder said.