Matches (22)
IPL (3)
USA vs CAN (1)
SA v SL [W] (1)
WI 4-Day (4)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)
ACC Premier Cup (4)
Analysis

Attacking mantra, Bhuvneshwar's form and Suryakumar's consistency bode well for India

Also, Jadeja and Pandya's inclusions give the team a little more breathing space in the lower order

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
11-Jul-2022
India's approach to T20I batting has undergone a transformation. While it isn't complete, they have made a start. In beating England at their own approach to clinch the T20I series 2-1, India have made a bold statement. And like England embraced the white-ball change wholeheartedly after their 2015 World Cup exit, India are buying into the 'no risk, no reward' concept in their run-up to this year's T20 World Cup in Australia.
The new batting philosophy
Twice they batted first. In Southampton, they were 66 for 2 after the first six overs; 61 for 1 at Edgbaston. No sighters for Rohit Sharma. No sighters for Virat Kohli. Two of the most experienced T20 batters, who have made careers by building innings, led the way in showcasing this approach. While Kohli's didn't translate into runs, his willingness to redraw his methods underlined the team's new mantra of change.
Similarly, Rishabh Pant's elevation to open wasn't left-field, but a smart one to unlock another layer of his already robust game by giving him more options. As such, it was Pant's destructive batting as an opener that got him noticed in age-group cricket. In both games, like Pant and Rohit, every batter that got in batted in accordance with the new mantra.
Much of this is down to role clarity. In not being lulled into opening with Kohli - so that they could keep an in-form middle order untouched from their first T20I - there couldn't have been a clearer message that the focus is on giving players roles the team management sees them playing, and not necessarily roles that will give them short-term success.
Suryakumar towers over the rest
There's Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. It's possible only three out of these five can play. Make that two now, because Suryakumar Yadav may have just cemented his spot firmly. He can strike from ball one and unsettle bowlers off their lengths by peppering different corners to same deliveries, as he did in the final T20I in making a stunning century to give India a shot at gunning down 216. In many ways, Suryakumar has had to make the least adjustments in fitting into the new batting template.
Bhuvneshwar's return
Two years ago, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was hampered by poor form and iffy fitness. He had spent more time in rehab than on the field. His pace had dropped, and utility questioned because the swing had disappeared. This coincided with Deepak Chahar's success with similar skillsets. He also brought with him a bit more pace and handy lower-order hitting that even won India a game they had no business winning. But Chahar's tryst with injuries opened another door for Bhuvneshwar, and he has burned it down.
The rhythm and swing are back, the ball is hooping around and even the best, like Jos Buttler who he nipped out in consecutive games with inswing and outswing respectively, are being foxed. A series returns of 6-1-25-4 in two games were as prolific as they could get. Coming on the back of an impressive series against South Africa - six wickets in five games at an economy of 6.07 and best of 4 for 18, may have sealed his spot for Australia, even if Chahar returns sooner than later.
Arshdeep's initiation adds to bowling options
Much of his success in the IPL so far has come in the middle and death overs. On debut, Arshdeep Singhshowed another side to his game: swing both ways with pace around the 140kmph mark. His first over in international cricket, a maiden, was as impressive as debut overs go. In any case, Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah are likely to bowl with the new ball, with Harshal Patel, who had a first real challenge outside the subcontinent conditions, among the options to come on later, in the middle and at the death. Arshdeep could yet get some game time in ODIs to follow - which Rohit isn't looking at in isolation - both in England and the Caribbean to present his case further.
Jadeja-Hardik add new dimension
A rigid five-bowlers stance gave India little wriggle room at the T20 World Cup last year. Partly, this was down to Hardik Pandya playing as a specialist batter, and Ravindra Jadeja, with his diminishing returns, being one of the five frontline bowlers. Now, Hardik appears as fit as he's ever been, having eased his way into competitive cricket since the IPL. His four-for in the T20I opener along with a bruising half-century to boot gave India the kind of package they'd been missing all this while. Jadeja's innings in the second T20I helped consolidate a stumbling innings and set them up for a total they defended comfortably in the end. Their inclusion now gives India a little more breathing space in the bowling, and plenty of lower order muscle with the bat.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo