Since the Asian Cup Super 4, India have contested six T20Is and won three while losing three.
However, all three defeats – to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia – came while defending goals.
Contrary to Rathour’s claims, none of the Indian squad members, who spoke to the media after the defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai, blamed the dew factor making defending difficult.
“We are working in this area to improve ourselves in defending targets. But to be fair to our bowlers, the throwing plays a vital role and anytime we haven’t been able to defend those are the places where it there’s been dew, so it becomes easier to chase,” Rathour said ahead of the first T20I against South Africa here on Wednesday.
While Rathour could have been referring to the game against Australia in Mohali where India couldn’t protect a target of over 200, he was sympathetic to the bowlers despite the kind of criticism they’ve faced recently.
“I won’t be hard on the bowlers as they’ve managed to push the game to the end every time when we’re looking to defend. It’s a ball here and there but of course we kinda manage fine, but hopefully we will be better,” said the former India Test opener.
The batting coach also disagreed that India were not putting big enough targets when asked to strike first.
When asked if the hitters in the middle decide on a possible target, the coach replied: “Certainly it depends on the surface we are playing on but when you say we have not been able to make good scores, I don’t. Agree with that.
“I think batting first was one of the concerns at the last T20 World Cup, but since then we’ve been setting up scores by or over every time we hit first. I don’t think so that’s not a problem.”
Bowlers know their plans
The batting coach also said that the team management never tries to coach international cricketers but rather encourages them to support their forces.
Someone like Arshdeep Singh is always told to follow his own plans.
“At that level, we don’t tell them anything. Arsh (Arshdeep Singh) has done extremely well in IPL in the death overs, so we just help them follow the plans. They know where to play with each hitter and follow their plans,” he said.
“We expect them (the bowling unit) to support their strengths. There are no specific areas I want Arshdeep to improve on and he has the composure to handle pressure under conditions. difficult.”
Change in batting philosophy
India’s top three KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had been widely criticized for their outdated approach in the T20Is, but Rathour is pleased with the change in mood since the last ICC tournament.
“There’s a very visible change in the way we bat. The approach has changed. We’re trying to be more aggressive, we’re playing with better strike rates and more intention, that’s pretty obvious. As a batting unit, we did well.”
Adapting to Australian conditions is a challenge
While giving optimum playing time to the T20 World Cup first-team starters is a priority, the other challenge will be adapting to Australian conditions.
“Adapting to the Australian conditions will be the biggest challenge we have. We want to give as many opportunities as possible to those who come to the World Cup, but how that happens will depend on the match situation.”