IND vs AUS 2022-23, Mohali T20I: 'Bhuvneshwar's death bowling form is an area of concern' - Gavaskar
India suffered a five-wicket defeat to Australia in the opening Mohali T20I on Tuesday. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was expensive, mainly as a death bowler, which Sunil Gavaskar referred to as a significant concern.
Legendary former Indian skipper and Little Master, Sunil Gavaskar feels that senior seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar's deficient performance in the death overs is a "real concern" for India as it heads the ICC T20 World Cup next month. Bhuvneshwar has leaked considerable runs at the death in the previous few games. He conceded 16 runs in the 19th over, allowing Australia to pull off a record 209 chase in the opening Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday.
"I don't think there was too much dew. We didn't see the fielders or bowlers using the towel to dry their fingers. That's not an excuse. We didn't bowl well. For example, that 19th over. That's a real concern. Somebody like Bhuvneshwar Kumar is going for runs whenever he is expected," Gavaskar told Sports Today.
"In 18 deliveries he has bowled in three matches against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and now Australia, he has given away 49 runs. It is almost three runs per ball. Somebody with his experience and calibre, you expect he will give 35-36 runs in those 18 deliveries. That is an area of concern," added Gavaskar.
Gavaskar also enunciated that India has failed to defend good totals, hoping that a fit-again pacer Jasprit Bumrah's return will heighten India's demoralised bowling department. Bumrah has been out of action since the limited-overs tour of England in July, recovering from an old back injury.
"We have seen in the last few years that it has been one of the areas where India has suffered. They have not been able to defend good scores. Maybe, when Bumrah comes in, it might be a completely different situation because he gets wickets at the top. India didn't get those today [Tuesday] as Australia got off to a flying start," Gavaskar felt.
"Having said that, it's only the first match. Don't forget, Australia are world champions. They are expected to do extraordinary things," counted Gavaskar. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri too slammed the side for its "sloppy standard of fielding" in the opening game. Defending 208, the Indians dropped three catches, including Cameron Green (61) and Matthew Wade (45).
"If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, youth and experience exist. I find the youth missing here and hence the fielding. If you look at the last five-six years, I think this side is no match to any of the top sides regarding fielding. And that can hit badly in big tournaments," Shastri said on commentary.
"It means that as a batting side, you have to get that 15-20 runs game after game because if you look around the field, where is brilliance? There is no Jadeja. Where is that X-factor?" continued Shastri. Axar Patel was the first wrongdoer, dropping a regulation catch at deep mid-wicket of Green when he was on 42.
KL Rahul did not succeed in grabbing a chance in the long-off in the subsequent over. However, the catch drop of Matthew Wade proved costly, as Harshal Patel dropped him off his bowling in the 18th while he was on one. Wade scored an unbeaten 45 off 21 deliveries, taking Australia home with four balls remaining.
"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," Shastri said. India faces Australia in the second T20I at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Friday.
(With inputs from PTI)