Seven no-balls and four wides. Besides the 11 extra balls and as many runs India conceded during the second T20I versus Sri Lanka on Thursday night, India also conceded a combined 22 extra runs off the seven free-hits it gifted the Lankan batters.
With the margin of India’s loss being 16 runs, the extras that the pacers conceded turned out to be the game-changer in a high-scoring affair at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium.
While captain Hardik Pandya had no qualms in admitting “no-balls in any format is a crime” during the post-match presentation, head coach Rahul Dravid did his best to stand by an inexperienced pace bowling unit.
“Especially in a T20 format game, they (extras) can hurt you. We need to be patient with these young kids. If you look at this team, there are a lot of youngsters in it, especially our bowling attack,” Dravid said.
“We need to be understanding that games like this can happen. They are improving and keep working hard. We are trying to support them technically with whatever we can in terms of support and creating the right environment for them to be able to get the best out of their skill. It is tough, it is not easy learning in international cricket and you have to learn on the job.
Arshdeep Singh, playing his first game of the series after missing the series-opener due to an ailment, had a horror night. The left-arm pacer bowled five no-balls and conceded 37 runs in his two overs. Shivam Mavi and Umran Malik, the other two young pacers playing their second and fifth T20Is respectively, also bowled a no-ball each.
Dravid insisted that too much should not be read into the pacers’ performance, with India looking to try out as many youngsters as possible.
“The good thing is this year since the focus is on the 50-over world cup, and the world Test Championships, at least the T20 games that we have, it gives us an opportunity to try out a lot of youngsters,” he said .