Says India’s last-minute rejig of their batting order may have done them more harm than good
“You can be flexible. But not with your top-three batters,” Jayawardene said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out. “I think most teams if you take, you don’t have too much flexibility in that top three. They are settled. They are the ones who are going to give you that initial tempo, who are going to go about things. And then you have that guy at No. 3 who is going to glue things together and bat in both halves of the innings and the rest of the guys are the ones who will probably get floated in and around.”
Jayawardene, in his tenure as Mumbai Indians coach, has seen a lot of India’s players up close and he believed that the team would have been better served if Rohit had stayed at the top of the order.
“So rather than making all those changes they should have done just that subtle change – one in, one out – and then maybe one batter changing positions, rather than three batters changing their slots, would have made a bit more sense. Especially going against a very good New Zealand new-ball attack because it was always going to do a little bit in those three-four overs.”
Jayawardene found it odd that India would ask their players to adapt to new responsibilities in the middle of a World Cup. “If you batted them in those correct positions, they are familiar with those roles and they would have executed,” he said. “If they had failed in those roles, then that’s a question you can always ask. But if you are pulling guys away from those particular roles where they are quite familiar with, then it’s always going to be a tough one.
“We see a lot of young Indian players coming through, we’ve seen it in the IPL as well, in the big stage, playing with fearlessness. They bat just the situation, they don’t bat anything other than that. So that’s something you need in T20 cricket. Bit of experience and bit of fearlessness to guide you through those tough situations.”