The bilateral T20I series in various parts of the globe is fast losing its context due to too many private leagues but for the Indian team, after its World Cup disaster, a series win might help in partially healing the wounds.
For New Zealand, it’s more about completing the assignment after a punishing schedule that will see it play five games (since the T20 WC semi-final) in less than two weeks. The inhuman scheduling means that a 0-3 defeat without the services of skipper Kane Williamson will bruise egos but not deflate it as results of bilaterals count very little in the long run.
Having already pocketed the series with a couple of near-perfect chases on Jaipur and Ranchi belters, there couldn’t have been a better venue than Eden Gardens for skipper Rohit to end the series on a perfect note and also try out some of his reserve bench players.
The first series as full-time T20 captain has gone well for Rohit as he won two tosses, his bowlers put a stranglehold on Black Caps batters during end overs and then as a batter he provided great starts to set the platform.
The script has been flawless so far and before Rohit goes into the break, a 3-0 annihilation of New Zealand in ‘The City of Joy, where he once scored an epic 264 in an ODI, will be like the icing on the cake.
For coach Rahul Dravid, a dominant performance like this will also help him settle the nerves into the new role before the marquee Test series against the same rival starting in less than a week’s time. Having already won the series, Rohit and Dravid will now like to maintain a fine balance between winning and also trying out all their available resources to see how each and every individual is placed.
Hence the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Avesh Khan, and Ishan Kishan will expect that their skipper consider them for a game in this series. Gaikwad, who came into the series with an Orange Cap in the IPL, might get a look-in in the top-three where he is most comfortable batting.
But for that to happen, either skipper himself or his deputy KL Rahul might have to take a rest for the game, which is more of academic interest and gives an ideal premise to check the bench strength. Resting Rahul looks more logical as he is supposed to play a rigorous Test series in four days’ time.