India lost the high-scoring first T20I match against Australia on Tuesday in Mohali despite posting a solid total of 208 on the board. India’s pace bowling failed them, dishing out extremely expensive overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the returning Harshal Patel combined to concede 101 runs from eight overs. Add to that India’s surprisingly poor fielding, in which they missed three catches, including the crucial one by Cameron Green that changed the outcome of the match. India’s catching was really poor, despite the lack of dew, and it earned them harsh criticism from none other than their former head coach Ravi Shastri.
Shastri was startled at the quality of fielding, calling it sloppy, and noted that something dramatic needs to happen if India is to beat elite teams going forward. Shastri has barely been overly critical of India’s performance and has largely lauded the Indian players. Shastri believes the current side lacks fangs when it comes to fielding.
“If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, there is youth and experience. I find the youth missing here and that’s why the (poor) fielding,”Shastri said on air during Australia’s chase while they were marching away to victory.
“If you look at the last five-six years, if you look at the fielding sides, I think this side is no match to any of those sides when it comes to fielding. And that can hit badly in big tournaments,”Shastri observed.
“It means that as a batting side you have to get that 15-20 runs game after game. If you look around the field, you tell me where is brilliance? There is no Jadeja. Where is brilliance? Where is that X-factor?”Shastri explained
Australia got off to a strong start in their chase of 209 thanks to the aggressive intent displayed by both Green and Aaron Finch. India made the breakthrough when Axar Patel dismissed the Australia skipper, but they were had to wait a while for their second victory as Green went all-out. He scored 61 runs off of 29 balls after plundering a half-century off of 24 balls, but his attack might have been stopped had Axar held onto a legal catch at deep mid-wicket of the innings when the hitter was on 42.
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KL Rahul took another chance by racing in from long-off in the very next over. The loss of Matthew Wade, who hammered an unbeaten 45 off 21 balls to help his side win, was the one that affected India the most. When Harshal flubbed a chance to be caught and bowled, he was on 1. Shastri was rather shocked when he looked back at India’s poor fielding and stated that the team must drastically improve if they want to win ICC competitions.
“What I was disappointed today with was the standard of fielding. I mean, it looks sloppy and I think you need a big upping of the ante when it comes to the fielding if you have to beat big sides in big competitions,”