Debashis Sarangi ∙ Jan 26 2023, 12:30 PM

IND vs NZ: Three areas of concern for India ahead of the first T20I

image-ldcwp57dHardik Pandya will lead India in the T20Is [Source: AP]

After registering a 3-0 clean sweep in the ODIs, India will cross swords against New Zealand in the three-match T20I series starting Friday. 

However, unlike the ODIs, the Men in Blue will be devoid of some senior pros in this series. With their T20 team transitioning, India will face a tough challenge from the Kiwis in their quest for sustaining home dominance. 

So, before the series begins, let's analyse and find out the areas of concern for the hosts in the shortest format. 

1) Ishan or Shaw? 

image-ldcwuyexIshan Kishan is struggling with form [Source: AP]

Despite being incredibly talented, Ishan Kishan has been patchy and inconsistent in his international career so far. The swashbuckling southpaw has been given multiple opportunities in T20Is only to come up with ordinary performances on most occasions. 

Importantly, Ishan has not done anything substantial in T20s of late. Since the away series in Ireland, he has managed only 134 runs in nine outings at an abysmal average of 14.89. 

Meanwhile, as Prithvi Shaw has finally made his comeback, India might be inclined to replace Ishan with him in the playing XI. But to do that, they will have to bring Jitesh Sharma down the order to perform the keeping duties. 

So, will India take this bold call or persist with Ishan for one more game? Only time will answer. 

2) Yuzvendra Chahal's bowling form

image-ldcww26eChahal has been unimpressive of late [Source: AP]

India's concern about their spin unit is aggravating day by day with their premier spinner Yuzvendra Chahal's prolonged struggle with inconsistent form. 

Chahal's wicket-taking ability, the fundamental reason behind his rise in white-ball cricket, has certainly dipped of late, with the spinner managing only seven wickets at an ordinary economy of 9.16 in his last three T20I series. 

So, it will be interesting to see whether India continue with Chahal or reintroduce Kuldeep Yadav into the T20Is. 

3) Death bowling woes

image-ldcwxwxmUmran has been disappointing in death overs [Source: AP]

With Jasprit Bumrah not in the team, the death bowling responsibilities will be shouldered primarily by Arshdeep Singh. However, it's necessary for India to keep at least one more seamer who can assist the Punjab pacer in the slog overs. 

But India's two other frontline seamers, Umran Malik and Shivam Mavi, have ordinary numbers in death overs, as evident from the stats below. 

Umran Malik in death overs in T20Is: 6 overs, 74 runs, Economy: 12.33

Shivam Mavi in death overs in T20s: 36 overs, 390 runs, Economy: 10.83

Thus, handling the death bowling all by himself will undoubtedly emerge as a challenge for Arshdeep Singh in this series. So, it will be fascinating to see how Hardik Pandya rotates his bowlers and whether Uman and Mavi evolve their death bowling skills. 

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