India’s campaign in the 2021 T20 World Cup couldn’t have started on a worse note as the team finds itself languishing at the bottom of the group with two defeats from two games. It makes you think immediately why a team filled with world-class players has struggled to perform on the biggest stage and whether it would have been better to go with players like Mohammed Siraj or Ruturaj Gaikwad who were in top form leading up to the tournament.
Here we’re looking at five such players who could have made an impact on this tournament had they been included in the final squad.
No cricketer in the Indian circuit has improved more in the last year or so than Mohammed Siraj. He has a wonderful self-belief that has helped him achieve great things in his short international career already. He was bowling exceptionally well in the second leg of the Indian T20 League and even though he wasn’t getting the number of wickets he would have liked, he was building enough pressure from one end, for bowlers from the other end to reap benefits. He surely would have had more impact than the other fast bowlers used in the two World Cup matches barring Jasprit Bumrah.
Ruturaj Gaikwad finished the Indian T20 League as the winner of the Orange Cap Award as well as the Emerging Player of the Season Award. He had a dream season in the yellow jersey of Team Chennai and helped them pick up yet another trophy for the franchise. He was riding high on confidence leading up to the World Cup and so far in the two games India has played, the team has screamed for a player like Gaikwad who could play twenty overs responsibly and get the team to a decent total. Surely a trick missed by the Indian team here.
Harshal Patel had a record-breaking season in the colours of Team Bangalore with the ball. The Indian team could have done with someone like Harshal who has the uncanny knack of picking wickets at crucial points in the game. So far in two matches, the team has managed to pick just two wickets and is lacking that wicket-taker with the ball. Harshal could have easily been that player for the team this World Cup especially in the kind of form he was in leading up to the tournament.
Shreyas Iyer is a part of the team that is present in the UAE but finds himself a part of the reserves. He was deemed to be a batter who didn’t accelerate in the middle overs of a T20 game and hence lost his spot in the Indian team. The irony to that has been that in this World Cup each team needs a player like Iyer who can stick an innings together when the team has lost early wickets in the power play. We’ve seen far too many players trying to hit their way out of trouble in this World Cup and a player of Shreyas’ composure would have been ideal in this tournament.
The most surprising exclusion ahead of the World Cup was not having one of India’s best spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal, in the squad. The selectors backed the inexperienced duo of Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar for a tournament of the magnitude of the World Cup and the inexperience is showing now. Even though Rahul Chahar hasn’t played a single match in the tournament so far, we saw him getting dropped halfway through the second leg of the Indian T20 League. The team has seemed to lack a wicket-taking spin bowler in the two matches as both Ravindra Jadeja and Chakravarthy have gone wicketless so far. This is where Yuzvendra Chahal would have been the x-factor the team is aching for currently.