Indian Team Cricket – With five months to go until the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the reigning champions of the tournament have chosen plenty of dilemmas to deal with.

India will be heading into yet another ICC tournament where over a billion people are expecting their highly talented team to win the big silverware for the first time since they won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in England.

Indian Team Cricket

Indian Team Cricket

With the T20I series coming up against South Africa, Ireland and England before the big dance, the real challenge for the subcontinental giants may be to pick the right combination from the pool of talented players.

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According to the initial assessment, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli seem to have their nests in the team.

While these three may have been picked, the recent form of Sharma and Virat Kohli is a cause for concern. Just two fifties in 28 innings between the duo and an IPL batting average of 19.14 for Sharma and 23.76 for Kohli raised some serious red flags in a World Cup year.

If India continue in this trio, it means they will have three right-handers at the top.

Interestingly, six of the seven previous winners of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup have opened with the right-handed versus left-handed pair in the final, with Pakistan (2010) being the only exception.

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Apart from his consistent IPL numbers, Dhawan has a history of performing well in ICC events, averaging 53.70 in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and 77.88 in the ICC Champions Trophy. He won the Player of the Tournament award at the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and also has fond memories of two ODI centuries and a T20I average of 33.87 on Australian soil.

Possible options include Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad who opened the innings well for their respective IPL franchises. The biggest worry in picking anyone from this pack is the lack of experience with the four of them combining for just 15 T20Is, with Kishan’s 10 T20Is making up most of that tally.

A consistent and seemingly impossible middle-order task to replace MS Dhoni’s finishing prowess could be a concern for India.

Indian Team Cricket

Over the past year, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya have been taking turns to fill that void. While Pant remains irreplaceable as the primary wicket-keeping option, the team will need at least one reliable finisher in their line-up.

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Pandya has a versatile bowler in India who can bat in multiple positions depending on the match situation. Also, unlike Iyer and Yadav, who have played just one game in Australia, the Gujarat Titans captain has had a great tour Down Under in 2020.

Pandya averaged 105 thanks to two mammoth innings of 90 and 92* in the three-match ODI series and also won the Player of the League award in the T20I series against the hosts. Confidence has never been a concern for the powerful all-rounder, but his recent role as captain in the IPL seems to have filled that tank to the brim. If India are looking for more options, Dinesh Karthik is the perfect combination of form and experience. Not only was he part of the title-winning teams in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, he also averaged 57.40 and scored 191.33 for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s IPL.

He has done his job in the best possible way, but will the selectors take a leap of faith and include Karthik in the World Cup squad?

It is no secret that India prefer or depend on a good spin and we will see them continue their strengths this October.

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Yuzvendra Chahal’s exclusion from India’s 2021 squad was the biggest talking point ahead of the T20 World Cup. The spinner has since turned a page and joined the new IPL franchise and currently tops the wicket chart with 26 wickets to his name this season.

Kuldeep Yadav has taken 21 wickets in the last two months, while veteran Ravichandran Ashwin has shown his versatility and efficiency with the bat, scoring 146 at an average of 30.

Here are three good options that have already been mentioned and not even the reliable Ravindra Jadeja has been mentioned. The all-rounder, who is the mainstay of the T20I squad, did not have a great IPL season, starting with a poor captaincy with Chennai Super Kings and eventually being ruled out of the tournament due to injury.

Indian Team Cricket

It would not be surprising if three or even four of these spinners get a chance to take their places on the plane to Australia at this point, with the likes of Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi.

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If there is a graph showing the growth in the quality of fast bowlers in India between 1990 and 2022, this graph shows a positive trend. Fans will remember that they relied on only a handful of fast bowlers to take wickets like Manoj Prabhakar, Kapil Dev, Jagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad who carried the mantle for most of the 1990s.

But those days are over. India’s fast bowling attack is arguably the best it has ever had and their depth backs up the statement.

It is difficult to find better bowlers in the world than Jasprit Bumrah. His strike partner Mohammed Shami dominates at the start of the innings and with a pace duo with 683 international wickets between them, experience should not be a problem.

But it will be interesting for the Indian selectors, who have a lot of pacers here, who can stretch their hands for the last fast bowler in the starting XI.

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Harshal Patel remains a lethal threat to all IPL opponents with 18 wickets and can partner with Bumrah to complete the innings with the variety he offers.

On the other hand, Punjab Kings’ Arshdeep Singh offers a disciplined and more importantly left-arm fast bowling option. Four of the previous seven T20 World Cup winners had at least one left-arm seamer in their winning team.

India’s only left-arm seamer is T. Natarajan, who also took 18 wickets but was a bit expensive at 9.44 runs/over.

Indian Team Cricket

Then we have the wildest characters breaking the glass ceiling, portrayed by Umran Malik at his unique pace. Not only has Malik clocked 150 km/h, he also has 21 wickets in this year’s IPL, making him one of the top five bowlers of the season.

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There is no substitute for raw pace and it is probably one of the only qualities you cannot teach fast bowling. We often hear the term ‘x-factor’ in T20 Cricket and 22-year-old Malik could be that x-factor for his team.

India may also consider an experienced player like Shardul Thakur, who was part of the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup, or Prasidh Krishna, who made his international debut earlier this year.

The selectors have some time before any big decisions are made, but with the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup less than five months away, they will want answers sooner rather than later. *(These statistics/data are as at 22 May 2022)

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Indian Team Cricket

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This website uses cookies to improve the user experience. If you use this website, you consent to our use of all cookies. Read more. India squad for New Zealand, Bangladesh: Hardik – captain in T20s, Dhawan – captain in ODIs; Rohit, Kohli back for WOMEN tour India squad announced for New Zealand vs Bangladesh series: Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan will lead the Indian squad in New Zealand, while Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will return for the Bangladesh tour.

Test squad for Bangladesh series: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (VC), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (week), K.S. Bharat (week), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Akar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Method. Siraj, Umesh Yadav.

ODI squad for Bangladesh series: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (w), Ravindra Jadeja, Akar Patel , W Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Method. Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Yash Dayal


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