After a below-par showing in the T20 World Cup, India will be boosted by the return of pace ace Jasprit Bumrah along with the experienced Harshal Patel for the T20 World Cup.
Having failed in the T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup, a full-strength India will be desperate to set the record straight in the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October-November, a tournament which they have won only once.
India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, while finishing as runners up in 2014.
Mohammed Shami’s exclusion from the 15-member squad has become the talking point. He has only been named in the standbys.
It is hard to understand why Shami, who has excelled with the ball in the last few IPLs, hasn’t figured in the Indian T20 squad since the World Cup last year.
Shami’s absence was sorely felt at the Asia Cup in Bumrah’s absence, with India’s pacers struggling to contain the flow of boundaries at the end.
This was the best opportunity for selectors to rectify their earlier mistake, but once again they have only included Shami in the standbys and not in the original squad.
If the young Arshdeep Singh was picked on his good showing in the last couple of IPLs, not applying the same yardstick for Shami is perplexing.
In the last four IPLs, Shami has taken 19 wickets or more every season — 19 wickets in IPL 2019, 20 wickets in IPL 2020, 19 wickets in IPL 2021 and 20 wickets this year — for a total of 78 wickets in 52 games.
Shami’s record in the last four IPLs:
Shami’s record in T20 Internationals:
Former head coach Ravi Shastri was struggling to understand why Shami was not picked for the Asia Cup, saying ‘someone like Mohammed Shami sitting at home baffles me.’
Deepak Chahar is another pacer suited to the T20 format, but he also finds himself in the reserves along with leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and batter Shreyas Iyer.
The only thing which must have gone in Arshdeep’s favour is his left-arm bowling with the Indian team wanting to add some variety to their attack for the T20 World Cup.
India’s bowlers struggled in the death overs in the Asia Cup, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and the return of Bumrah and Harshal could help sort out that issue.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya will be expected to shoulder bowling responsibilities this time around, after he managed just five overs in India’s ill-fated T20 World Cup campaign last year.
With Ravindra Jadeja ruled out of the World Cup because of injury, Axar Patel finds a place in the squad, but it looks unlikely he could get ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the playing XI.
Meanwhile, Dinesh Karthik’s dream comeback continues. The veteran wicket-keeper-batter makes a return to the T20 World Cup after a long gap of 12 years, having last played in the 2010 edition.
Karthik has been the designated finisher for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022 and also for the Indian team in recent months, but was surprisingly dropped for the important ngames in the Asia Cup in favour of Rishabh Pant, whose struggles in white ball cricket continued but was still retained for the World Cup.
In all, India have three wicket-keeper-batters , including K L Rahul.
Following Virat Kohli’s good showing in Asia Cup 2022, there was not much to debate for the selectors on the batting line-up.
Deepak Hooda, who can bowl a few overs of off-spin, was preferred ahead of Iyer. He will form part of a strong batting line-up comprising of Rohit Sharma, Rahul, Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Pandya.
It remains to be seen if Kohli will double as the opener if Rahul gets injured or struggles for runs or if Pant could be tried to open the batting.
With teams allowed to change their teams before the start of their first match, India could still make a change or two to their final squad depending on how the players fare in the home series against Australia and South Africa.
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