With India now setting up a semifinal showdown with England at the Adelaide Oval in Men’s T20 World Cup, one can feel optimistic about the side’s chances as they will play at the venue in which they survived a Litton Das scare to beat Bangladesh by five runs in a tense rain-hit match.
But Sunday’s matches showed that the pitch, which hosted the double-header, was a little slower and boundaries were a little smaller too. Asked about what India would do in a situation like this coming up in the semifinal against England, head coach Rahul Dravid remarked that his team will be quick to adapt to the situation if the pitch is indeed slow in nature.
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“It was, again, a different kind of wicket, and it was played at Adelaide, as well. I can’t sit here now just after a game and predict what’s going to happen there. We’ll have a couple of days; we’ll go and have a look at that wicket and see what we think it might do. Of course, if it’s slow we’ll play according to those situations. If we think it might play differently, then we’ll have to put up a squad to match that.”
“Again, we’ll have to go there and see. I watched some of the games today and I know the tracks were slow and they gripped and they turned a bit. We might be playing on a completely new strip in Adelaide, and the strip we played with against Bangladesh, to be honest, did not spin,” said Dravid in the post-match press conference.
Dravid further stressed that the strike rate of batters will vary depending on how they adapt to the conditions, calling them as only certainty in an uncertain tournament. “Strike rate is different in every situation, ground and condition. If you are playing a match where 200 runs are to be made, or like on this wicket, where according to us, some movement was happening. But we felt that 170-180 was ideal, according to the information we got from the boys inside.”
“In a match like this, your strike rate has to be different. We have played in matches where 150 was a winning score and in Adelaide, 160 was a difficult score to chase in those conditions. In that scenario, you have to play the conditions.”
“Honestly, you can’t say that this is the strike rate I want to play on, as this is the only certainty the World Cup has shown us. Conditions have been so unique in different cities that you have to adapt. It’s not been easy for the opening batsman, powerplays, strike rates.”
“Other than I think in Sydney have been pretty low for all countries. Again, you have to adapt. Maybe when you go to Sydney you might have to play differently. Adelaide may be different, may not be different. I think it’s all about adaptability for me in this format.”
Almost a year ago, India were out of the race for making the semifinals in the UAE. But ever since Dravid took up as head coach immediately after India’s campaign ended, India have been on an upward swing which has now resulted in entering the semifinals as Group 2 table toppers. He acknowledged that entering the last-four stage was pleasing in a tournament that has seen results being decided on very fine margins.
“It’s a challenging format and tournament. When you have six teams and just one or two results don’t go your way, as we’ve seen with some of the other teams, I think with us, as well, I think one or two results could have gone the other way. We could have won some games, as well.”
“This is a very challenging format to be able to get through and get to the top four. It’s nice, and we’re happy about it, but obviously, we know that hopefully, we’ve got a couple of more good days in us as we go ahead.”
With the uncertainties this format brings and the different challenges posed by sides in Group 2, Dravid quashed the idea of him instructing players to do anything extra for winning against Zimbabwe in order to get the top spot.
“At this level, most of these guys are incredibly motivated. You don’t need to tell them to do anything extra. We stick to our processes. We stick to our preparation. We didn’t do anything (different) for this game.”
“Irrespective of whether we’ve played South Africa in this tournament or Pakistan or Zimbabwe or Bangladesh or Netherlands, our processes and the way we’ve gone about our practice sessions has been exactly the same. We haven’t changed anything at all irrespective of the opponent, and I don’t expect that to change going into the semifinals, as well.”
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