The two Team India T20 stars who need to improve their home game ahead of the World Cup

The T20I five-game series against England starts from Friday in Ahmedabad and with that begins the Indian squad’s preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup at home. Five years ago, India lost in the semifinals of the last T20 world event, which was also contested in India.

The Indian team has not won an ICC tournament since winning the 2013 Champions Trophy and fans and players themselves are growing impatient. Under Virat Kohli, India’s performance in limited overs cricket has been extremely consistent, but it has failed in the crucial stages of major tournaments. Defeats in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and the 2019 World Cup semi-final left this talented group injured and hungry for success.

But for India to win a world trophy at home, it needs all the cogs of the wheel to function well. While the team has good attacking pace and top order, they need to strengthen two areas.

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The dramatic loss of form of the Indian Wrist Tops left the team management in a difficult situation. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal both saw a massive drop in performance and that left India without big wicket takers in the middle.

While Kuldeep has also struggled to keep his place in his IPL franchise, Chahal has managed to defend himself for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and needs to improve his game to regain wicket form in international cricket.

Chahal had a big impact as a concussion substitute in the first T20I against Australia, but didn’t do very well afterwards. He actually has one of the worst T20I averages since 2019 and his home form has taken a huge hit as well.

The Chahal performance in the T20 is at home
The Chahal performance in the T20 is at home

India need Chahal to play well in the middle of the passes and pick wickets, to have control over the opposition’s score rate. Kohli hopes that his companion RCB will find his mojo in the English series and wear the form at IPL 2021.

The other player who needs to get back in shape at home is Hardik Pandya. While the jury is still out on whether he can be a capable enough bowler after his back injury, Pandya has shown his ability with the bat in the series by winning matches with his big shot.

Hardik’s Might was a major contributor to the Mumbai Indians’ campaign for the UAE title last year and he carried the form to Australia for the national team.

But his home form in the T20Is was terrible. Not only did he fail to score big points in sequence, his hitting rate was also appalling and that will be of great concern to the team.

Hardik Pandya: comparison of home and away performance in the T20I (as a drummer)
Hardik Pandya: comparison of home and away performance in the T20I (as a drummer)

Pandya is a real match winner with the bat and India needs him to do the job of a finisher, like he does for the Mumbai Indians.

If Chahal and Pandya can get started in the conditions at home for the Indian team, then Virat Kohli can be confident that he will have an ICC trophy in his hands very soon.

And the series against England is when the clock starts ticking for these two players to return to their best at home.