It’s been around four years since R Ashwin featured in a white-ball match for the national team. In what is considered a surprise move, the off-spinner has paved the way back in the T20 World Cup squad. Washington Sundar who was India’s first-choice off-spinner is currently injured and it meant that a spot for a bowler who takes the ball away from the left-hander opened up and no other bowler than R Ashwin is better equipped to take that job up.
Along with Ashwin, the non-selection of Yuzvendra Chahal was another surprise move as the selectors have backed Rahul Chahar instead. In what was another exciting surprise, Jay Shah the Secretary of the BCCI announced that former India captain, MS Dhoni would be accompanying this side as a mentor for the T20 World Cup. This would be a big morale boost for the side as there is no player in the world who is better at reading conditions than Dhoni, and given the pressure, Virat Kohli would be under having not won an ICC trophy since 2013, Dhoni would be the perfect man to bear some of the load.
In this piece, we’ll dissect this Indian squad for the T20 World Cup position-by-position and understand the real squad depth of this Indian team.
Virat Kohli | Rohit Sharma | KL Rahul | Suryakumar Yadav
The four out-and-out batters the selectors have picked for the T20 World Cup virtually picked themselves. There are no other players in the world who are better at their job than these four players. Suryakumar Yadav is the least experienced one in this lineup but the Mumbai batter is in a purple patch and the team would be looking to make the most of his form. It’ll be interesting to see who opens alongside Rohit Sharma. Whether it’ll be KL Rahul, who is regarded as one of the best T20 batters in the Indian team, is left to be seen. He lost his place in the XI in the series against England with Kohli opting to open, giving Surya his desired number three spot.
Rishabh Pant | Ishan Kishan
Two wicket-keepers who have tremendous hitting ability have been picked in the squad. Rishabh Pant would begin the campaign as the first-choice keeper and Ishan Kishan would be looked like more of a floater who could open the innings or bat in the middle order given his ability to play spin in the middle overs.
Hardik Pandya | Ravindra Jadeja | Axar Patel
Chetan Sharma, the chief selector described T20 as a format of the all-rounders and hence, the selectors have tried to pack the team with multi-faceted players. Hardik Pandya is the premier T20 all-rounder in the world and his bowling fitness would be monitored regularly. Ravindra Jadeja is striking the ball as well as he has ever done and his cameos in the lower-middle order would be crucial. Axar Patel is an interesting selection. The selectors believe that the pitches in the UAE can be low and slow especially after half a season of the Indian T20 League and this is where Patel comes into the picture.
R Ashwin | Rahul Chahar | Varun Chakravarthy
Ravichandran Ashwin’s name here is one that stands out. He was nowhere close to the white-ball setup for the last few years but his performances in the Indian T20 League have been enough to get a stake in this T20 World Cup team. Rahul Chahar has been picked over India’s most successful T20 bowler Yuzvendra Chahal given the speeds at which Chahar bowls. Varun Chakravarthy has been selected as the mystery element in this squad and he’ll have a crucial role to play in the World Cup.
Jasprit Bumrah | Mohammed Shami | Bhuvneshwar Kumar
This is a department that lacks depth. The trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is world-class but if one of them gets injured then the team would struggle to cope up. In the 2020 Indian T20 League in the UAE, we saw how big a role fast bowlers played throughout the tournament but the selectors have packed the team with spinners as they think the pitches may be favourable to spin. Hardik Pandya is looked at as the fourth fast bowler in this squad.
Shreyas Iyer | Deepak Chahar | Shardul Thakur
Three players have been named in the squad as standby players in case of any injuries to the 15 mentioned above. Shreyas Iyer has missed out on plenty of cricket in the past year or so and would be looking at having a successful Indian T20 League campaign to get a spot in the World Cup squad. Deepak Chahar is one who is unlucky to miss out on the final squad as whenever he has been called up by the national team the fast bowler has always performed. The last player is Shardul Thakur who we’ve all seen excel at the highest stage for Team India.
India’s T20 World Cup Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami
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