The chatter around the concussion substitute will remain as a resurgent India, unlikely to be alarmed by all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s absence, seeks a series win in the second T20I against Australia here on Sunday.
Following its triumph on the back of a terrific bowling display by Yuzvendra Chahal – India’s first concussion substitute – the away side enters the second game with a lot more confidence even though Jadeja’s batting down the order will be missed.
It can’t be denied that his unbeaten 44 off 23 balls made the difference between a winning score and a sub-par one. However, Kohli would expect his top-five batters to contribute heavily, leaving little work for those at No.6 and 7.
It will only help India that rival captain Aaron Finch, who has been in fantastic form, may not be fully fit. And with David Warner already absent due to a groin tear, the momentum that Australia had during the ODI series may not be there. Opener D’Arcy Short looked out of place during the first T20I and Chahal rightly exposed his chinks.
Steve Smith, for all his greatness, isn’t the best T20 player around and is more at ease while playing the second fiddle to an enforcer. Glenn Maxwell has limitations, which both Jasprit Bumrah and Thangarasu Natarajan exposed in the last ODI and first T20I respectively.
What India would aspire is a better effort from the top-order, especially senior opener Shikhar Dhawan, who has gone off the boil after a half-century in the first ODI. Skipper Kohli has been decent without being extraordinary and that has affected the team. A solid knock from Kohli can go a long way in solving half of India’s worries. It will be interesting to see if Manish Pandey gets a second game.
Pandey and Shreyas Iyer, who was not a part of the first T20I, are similar players who need some time before they counter-attack. The job for Sanju Samson and the big-hitting Hardik Pandya will be to utilise the last six overs and explode.
For Australia, one interesting aspect is that Test specialist Nathan Lyon has been drafted into the T20 squad. He could replace leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in the playing eleven. Although he got lucky with Kohli’s wicket, Swepson mostly bowled short in his two overs and on a flat Sydney deck, he could increase Australia’s worries.