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India’s panic button provides undesired results

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India’s panic button provides undesired results

A panic button is an electronic device that is designed to assist in alerting somebody in emergency situations where a threat to a person or property exists. Hitting the panic button has the potential to rise in amplitude enough to damage the speakers or other components in the sound system.

Indian Cricket team under the captaincy of Virat Kohli have always kept a panic button beside the venues, which is triggered following a bad performance. Unfortunately, for the Indian team members, the button does not pay heed to the players, their age, experience or their involvement in the Indian team. The button gets triggered, a person gets kicked out, the replacement walks in. The first victim in 2019, a certain Kuldeep Yadav, the date, 30th June against England. 

June 30 2019: On an overcast condition at the Edgbaston, India took on mighty England in the Cricket World Cup in a slightly New Zealand-esque ground. England played a solo-spinner in the form of Adil Rashid, while India stepped in the encounter with two - Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. At the end of five-overs, England were up and running, at 28/0 before Kohli brought Chahal in the powerplay. With a 59 metre boundary, Chahal was bowling to arguably the best opening pair in white-ball cricket. First signs of Kohli entering the panic mode, bringing Chahal in when India only had two specialist spinners in the powerplays. Naturally, the leggie was tonked by the English openers, conceding 16 off two overs. 

However, when brought on after the powerplay, the leggie spun webs around Bairstow, creating a chance out of nowhere that fell short of Jasprit Bumrah. And then, the openers just attacked the Indian spinners before Kuldeep struck with the wicket of Roy. After that, both the spinners were trashed to all parts, with Kuldeep conceding 72 runs for the prize of Roy, while Chahal conceded 88 for the prize of none. And, India, lost, however, that is partly due to their poor batting display. 

Going by logic, Kuldeep should have retained his place in the lineup right? No, the Indian management ruined the youngster’s confidence and continued with Chahal for the entirety of the World Cup. From his last spell in England to his next one, the left-arm unorthodox spinner had to wait till August before making a comeback into the national team. And another person, who was dropped after the England shambles is Kedar Jadhav, the man who was so influential during MS Dhoni’s last leg of captaincy. After his 13-ball 12 Testesque knock, the all-rounder was dropped for the next game and was never seen until the West Indies series that saw Kuldeep’s comeback. 

August 08, 2019: Following the World Cup semi-final exit, India’s next ODI assignment was against West Indies away from home. “We are looking at the new guys, giving them time and let them settle,” said Virat Kohli. Much against surprise, he brought back Chahal and Jadhav into the national team, the only disappointment was to not see Ambati Rayudu in the team. India comfortably swept past West Indies side 2-0 in the series and looked like a formidable unit, who have their core players ready.

Come to the long limited-overs home season, with Shikhar Dhawan ruled out with an injury, they knocked the door of KL Rahul for returning back as the opener alongside Rohit Sharma. While the duo was reunited for the first time since the World Cup, Jadhav - Kuldeep duo continued their run in the home season. 

While the right-handed batsman scored a quick-fire 16 off 10 balls, Kuldeep was the real star of the night, including a hat trick against the Windies side. Rahul, too, similarly, looked like a man possessed with scoring runs, better than Kohli. In the series, the right-handed opener scored 185 runs, and that included a century in the second ODI. The trio were firm favourites to start the series against Australia, everything changed in a jiffy. 

The returning Dhawan warranted a place in the playing XI, an optimistic Kohli wanted to bank on the form of the openers by including the three of them to face Australia. In the opening ODI at the Wankhede, India started with three openers, who incidentally, were the top-three of this new look Indian unit. That moved Kohli to an unusual No.4 position against the visiting Australian team, where he averages 55.21 in contrast to his 62.90 at No.3. And, that forced Jadhav out of the playing XI. At No.4, the Indian skipper has scored only ten per cent of the total runs he has scored in his career. Rishabh Pant’s game at Wankhede was reduced to the first innings after a concussion test ruled him out of the second innings. 

January 17, 2020: Pant was ruled out of the second innings after being hit on the head in the first innings. Rahul, who was incidentally in the game, playing at No.3 went on to keep the wickets for the country, his first in ODIs. Rahul’s nifty-work, conceding only four byes combined with Pant’s continued absence ensured he kept the wickets, in the next game. The 27-year-old now went down to No.5 position, which was previously occupied by Pant. He continued to score runs for fun, showcasing a variety of shots. Rahul scored 80, off 52 and even a returning Pant could not dislodge Rahul. A panic move, more out of the forced mould for Kohli. And, to make it worse for Jadhav, Pandey took his place in the playing XI at No.6, closing the doors for a returning Jadhav. 

Now, India have sorted their playing XI for once, right after a series win over Australia? Once again, a key to this answer, ‘panic button,’ the one that the Indian skipper keeps next to his pillow during his sleepless nights. The one, that Kohli goes back to bring in players whenever and wherever he wants them. And, next for India, was the Kiwi test, the one that they have always savoured home or away for the competitiveness. No prizes for guessing who returned for India in the series, it was Jadhav. Jadhav 3.0 or so they called him, the newer version did not look spectacularly any different to the one that was seen in India’s 2-1 series win over West Indies. It could very well be his luck for the Indian team that has put him back into the team after falling out of favour every single time. Rest of the team was pretty much, the same, from Bengaluru encounter against Australia. Jadhav scored a rapid-fire 26 from 15 deliveries, though, it was on a small ground. 

February 8, 2020: Yadav, despite taking two wickets, went for aplenty, which prompted Kohli to make a few changes for the second game. Chahal returned back as the mainstay. However, Jadhav stayed and was used purely as batsmen, after his role fell from an all-rounder to a batsman. Pandey, who was sitting in the dug-out waited patiently for a chance, despite not putting a foot wrong against Australia. New Zealand put two past India, without a reply and had one to save their grave in New Zealand. For the saving grace of the Indian batting unit, Pandey returned and scored 42 in tough conditions. 

At this point, the button has felt the heat, and moreso, it has been overcooked so much that it already knows by now that Kohli is going to come back to it. The button’s status, done and dusted, however, India will keep pressing it, until they figure a way out! Does that also mean that Kulcha will be back together?

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