T20 World Cup: Can New Indian Squad Pack A Punch?

Bengaluru | Updated: 13 September, 2022 4:06 pm IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday announced the 15-member Indian squad for the T20 World Cup. The marquee tournament is slated to happen in Australia in October and November.

Despite doing exceedingly well over the last few years, India have not won any ICC tournament since 2013 and they will be hoping to pull out all the stops and obliterate this blemish.

As expected, Rohit Sharma will lead the team in the World Cup, while KL Rahul will be his deputy. Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel have returned to the squad after recovering from injuries, but Deepak Chahar, Ravi Bishnoi and Mohammad Shami aren’t part of the 15-member squad. Their omissions have raised a few eyebrows as all three have performed well in the last year.

So, is this a well-balanced team which has the ammunition to fire in the championship?

Robin Uthappa, who has played 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is for India, told The New Indian he’s extremely happy with the team selectors have picked. “I think it is a pretty balanced and strong side. The selectors have done a fine job of picking the best available T20 players in the country. It makes me elated to see Mohammad Shami named as a stand-by player. He’s a veritable wicket-taker. Perhaps the only change I would have liked to see is the inclusion of Sanju Samson in the squad. But this team covers all the bases and has the wherewithal to do well in the T20 World Cup,” he stated.

When asked about the decision of selectors to pick Deepak Hooda above Deepak Chahar, the 36-year-old said, “I think Hooda must be seen as a specialist batsman who can bowl a bit. That’s how team management also sees him. In the T20Is, he should ideally be batting at no.5. Hooda hasn’t played the role of a finisher. Dinesh Karthik and perhaps Axar Patel or R Ashwin are the guys who are finishers. Unfortunately, Ravindra Jadeja is injured or else he would have been extremely resourceful. As for Chahar, God forbid if Bhuvneshwar Kumar or anyone else gets injured, he will get his chances. He also has the knack of giving finishing touches to innings.”

Madal Lal, the former Indian cricketer who was a part of the Indian team which won the 1983 World Cup, opined that he’s not worried about the batting line-up but bowling seems a cause for concern.

“By and large, this is a very good squad. But I feel Mohammad Shami should have been among the 15 members. He’s a wicket-taker and would have come in handy on Australian pitches. I see no point why India need three spinners in the squad. A couple of pitches might assist spinners slightly in Australia but India needed one more seamer, especially because Bumrah and Harshal are returning after injuries,” the 71-year-old stated.

On not picking the leg-spinner Bishnoi, Lal asserted that the youngster is a very fine prospect but the team management could not have opted for more spinners. “There are already three spinners in the squad. How many more would they have included? I agree he has done well in the T20 format but selectors wanted more experience for such a big event. He will get his chances in the future,” he said.

He continued: “See, Chahar is a resourceful T20 cricketer and is an all-rounder. I think selectors thought that since they already have Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel in the team, they don’t need more all-rounders. That’s why he’s not been selected. Though Deepak Hooda can bowl, batting is his primary suit and selectors wanted a whirlwind batter as a back-up. Hence, Hooda has been preferred over Chahar,” Lal explained.

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Talking about India’s ‘death overs’ bowling, which hasn’t been up to scratch of late, Lal claimed that the return of Bumrah will certainly add heft to the bowling department. “Bumrah is one of the finest bowlers in death overs. If he’s in his element, he will take care of death overs along with Arshdeep Singh, who has been doing well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is mighty impressive when the ball is jagging around but when the pitch offers no assistance, he looks ordinary,” he elaborated.

“India must not be rigid in their tactics. The management must keep an open mind and pick the playing XI after looking at the strengths of the opposition and the pitch. The proper team selection will be instrumental in how they perform. Lastly, I think that if India’s bowlers come good and hit their strides, the chances of India doing well in the tournament will multiply manifold,” Lal concluded.

India’s squad for T20 World Cup 2022: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (VC), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, R Pant (WK), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, B Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.

Stand-by players: Mohd. Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar

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