Pathan advises India to work on batting combo and mental positivity

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has advised the Indian team to get its batting combination right ahead of its third match in the ICC T20 World Cup against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

He added that the pitch in Abu Dhabi, where India will play outside Dubai for the first time in the tournament, has more pace which means that ball will come nicely on to the bat.

India, yet to open their account in Group 2, now are required to win all three of their remaining matches in Super 12 in order to have a chance in qualifying for the semifinals, starting from the one against Afghanistan.

During the eight-wicket loss to New Zealand on Sunday, India had rejigged its batting order at the top, with Ishan Kishan opening alongside KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma dropping to number three. The move backfired as India were able to score just 110/7 in 20 overs, which was comfortably chased down by New Zealand in 14.3 overs.

“First of all, get the batting combination right, get the proper guys at the proper position like Rohit Sharma batting up the order and then once he gets set then it’s a different thing. With the Abu Dhabi pitch, you get more turns but the good thing is the pitch has more pace as well which means it will come nicely onto the bat and this is what the Indian team needs to be aware of,” Pathan said on Gameplan show on Star Sports.

Pathan, who was the player of the match in the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup final won by India, was of the opinion that players like Sharma, KL Rahul and captain Virat Kohli will enjoy playing in Abu Dhabi due to the bounce in the pitch.

“They don’t need to worry about what happened in Dubai, they don’t need to be worried about what’s happening in Sharjah as far the pitch is concerned where the ball doesn’t come onto the bat. It’s a good cricketing pitch, so you need to enjoy that bounce, and I think guys like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli will cherish this and they will enjoy.

“If they just believe in their own timing, spend a bit more time and get the opening sorted, then they don’t need to worry about the quality spinners that we were talking about, they can face any spinner or fast bowler but they just need to spend more time,” concluded Pathan.

Amidst talk about mental fatigue becoming a factor in India’s losses to Pakistan and New Zealand in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan had urged Virat Kohli and Co. to keep the fatigue aside and focus on thinking positively. Pathan’s words come ahead of India facing Afghanistan in an important Group 2 match in Abu Dhabi, also marking the first time India will be playing outside of Dubai in the tournament.

“Look, the Indian team has been touring non-stop, first WTC, then the England tour – which was a long tour – then the whole IPL, and now coming into the World Cup is not easy for anyone. But, most of the teams are in the same boat as well. So, you need to keep that aside and just keep thinking positively, because I think, in the two years of the pandemic a lot of people lost their jobs as well,” Pathan said on the Game Plan show on Star Sports.

India have been on the road in bio-bubble life since undergoing mandatory quarantine in Mumbai in May before departing for England to take part in the World Test Championship final in June. After losing the final, the team was given a small break before regrouping for the Test series against England. Post the cancellation of the fifth Test in Manchester due to COVID-19 scare in the team, the players flew to the UAE for the second half of the IPL 2021 followed by the ongoing Men’s T20 World Cup.

“So, you need to think from the perspective, that you are definitely working but you are representing your country as well, that’s the biggest pride moment for anyone. So you need to think like that. I know it’s not easy. We are all human. We think in a certain way, and we all get homesick,” said Pathan, who was the player of the match in the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup final.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah had outlined mental fatigue while living in bio-bubbles after India had lost to New Zealand by eight wickets on Sunday. “In the series which is coming up after the World Cup (against New Zealand at home), there will be a rotation policy for sure because you don’t want to keep playing all the time, as you are human and not a machine at the end of the day. I want them to keep focusing on the games and make sure whatever game you are playing, remember you are representing the country, and that’s the biggest pride one can have,” concluded Pathan.

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