'Finding depth in our batting' - Dravid rues long tail after India's 3-2 West Indies loss
Rahul Dravid admitted lack of depth held India back significantly during the 3-2 T20I series loss against the West Indies, with the side's longish tail forcing accumulation phases on the specialists and plaguing it well shy of a winning score in the decider played in Florida on Sunday (August 13).
It was a concern waiting to be exposed throughout the series: India had skipper Hardik Pandya at No.6 and Axar Patel coming in at No.7 followed by four specialist bowling options, and it did help them exert command on proceedings in the third and the fourth T20Is.
But given that West Indies batted deeper and could consistently blaze off, India's long tail proved to be a tactical misfit on a strategy that saw the young, promising batting line-up admirably and encouragingly persist with the attacking streak. India failed to close out a chase of 37 off 30 with six wickets in hand in the first T20I and with 165 in the final T20I fell about 20 short of a par score on a flat pitch because they ran out of batters.
Dravid identified that as the key reason behind the loss, with chief selector Ajit Agarkar and his panel leaving the team management with little scope to tweak the balance of the playing XI for this series.
Dravid bemoans lack of depth after T20I series loss
An extreme suggestion has been rife to pack the side with batting up until No.10-11 and keep hitting from the word go. But while mindful of where his team fell short tactically, Dravid said the key lies in maintaining a balance and add extra meat to the batting without compromising on the quality of bowling resources.
Influx of a capable hitter and allrounder at No.8 could perhaps solve India's problem with perhaps Ravindra Jadeja coming back to No.7 and Axar pushing one spot below or equally promising Washington Sundar returning to the fold for the same.
Sundar, whose presence would also help India counter left-hand match-ups - which Axar couldn't against Nicholas Pooran & co - could be a real asset heading into the next T20 World Cup.
"I think in terms of our squad here, probably it didn't allow us the flexibility in some ways to be able to change the combinations a little bit," Dravid said in the post-match media interaction. "But I think going forward, we've got to look at certain areas in which we can get better. Finding depth in our batting has been an area we are trying to address."
"We are trying to do the best we possibly can but that's certainly an area we can look at, how we cannot weaken our bowling attack but ensure we have a certain amount of depth in batting," he added.
"As these games are going on, and scores are becoming bigger and bigger, if you look at West Indies, they had Alzarri Joseph coming in at No. 11 and he can hit a mean ball. So you have sides which have that depth. Obviously, we have some challenges on that front and we need to work on that. It's certainly something that this series has shown us and we need to build on that depth."