Indian cricket is spoilt with choices in every position. Given the kind of talent that is being unearthed in the Indian T20 League, every player in the national team needs to be on their toes and performing to the standard that is desired of them. Even legendary players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli need to look after their spots in the playing XI given the kind of options the selectors have, especially in T20I cricket.
We’re talking about the captain and the ex-captain of the national team, who are in the top three run-getters in the format. There’s a wealth of experience that comes with Rohit and Virat but it may be time for at least one of them to make way for a younger player who plays the brand of cricket that can win India the T20 World Cup later in the year.
If you look at the top order of the current Indian T20I team, you’ll find classy players in KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, three of the best batters in the world but very similar in their approach to T20 cricket. They have middling strike rates and neither one of them like taking the attack to the opposition from the very first ball.
If you compare this top order to a few of the competitors of India in the T20 World Cup, you’ll find players like Jos Buttler (England), Moeen Ali (England), Jason Roy (England), David Warner (Australia), Mitchell Marsh (Australia), Daryll Mitchell (New Zealand), Evin Lewis (West Indies), Nicholas Pooran (West Indies), Quinton de Kock (South Africa) and Aiden Markram (South Africa). All these players mentioned above are top order batters who can strike at a rate in excess of 150 on their day and can take the game away from the opposition in the powerplay itself.
The kind of season the dynamic duo of Kohli and Sharma have had in the 2022 edition of the Indian T20 League has done no favours to their selection chances in the World Cup squad. Rohit has scored 266 runs in 13 matches so far with not even one half-century in the season while Kohli has scored just 236 runs in 13 matches at an underwhelming strike rate of 113.46.
If you compare these numbers to some of the competitors for the top order spot, Rahul Tripathi has scored 393 runs in 13 matches at a whopping strike rate of 161.72, and Sanju Samson has smashed 359 runs at a rate of 153.41. While Suryakumar Yadav played just eight matches in the season, he had a positive impact on the team with 303 runs at 145.67. These players mentioned here represent the brand of cricket that is required to win a major trophy like the T20 World Cup and unfortunately, the current Indian top three play an outdated brand of cricket.
It seems like the selectors are backing their experience of Sharma and Kohli to come good at the biggest stage but the horrors of the 2021 World Cup should be still fresh and the way this team is building, fans wouldn’t be overly confident of their chances in Australia later in the year.
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