After an embarrassing, shocking group-stage exit at the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE, India will be looking to do better this time as the next T20 World Cup is not far away, in October-November slated for Australia, where the defending champions would be one of the top favorites in home conditions.
Moving on from the Kohli–Shastri era, India is under the new regime of Rohit–Dravid. Rohit Sharma already has tasted the IPL success most times – 6 times as a player and 5 times as Mumbai Indians‘ skipper – and with India, too, he was a crucial part of the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning side.
He will want to repeat that feat as the senior men’s team hasn’t won anything ICC trophy – in any of the three formats – since 2013.
Rohit and Dravid have a vast talent pool to choose from, however, while some, including himself, are struggling with form, a few others have had injury concerns.
Here are we trying to predict the final 15 of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup:
Barring any injury or unavailability due to unforeseen reasons, these 11 players, based on their prior experience or current form, seem to be certain to be part of the 15-man squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Now, not only this, given the IPL form of Mohammed Shami, it is too huge to be sidelined from the national squad – and Shami will enjoy the pace, bounce and movement in the Australian conditions. Also, ‘Ishan Kishan seems to have sealed the spot of the backup opener; his versatility as a middle-order batsman makes him an all but sure selection in the final 15.
So that – well, well – leaves just two spots! And there are more than a dozen playing fighting for that.
In the above names, India have three pacers, one leg-spinner, two all-rounders – one spin bowling and one seam bowling, both capable of giving 2-3 even 4 overs at times – and seven batters including a host of wicket-keepers. So since the batting is covered in the above names, the selectors and management will want to include an extra bowler.
The list of the players on the fringes includes even a couple of IPL captains: Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur – these are the players out of which that one spot left is likely to be filled.
A few others who are a bit further away from the main and final squad: Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.
A few uncapped players too may be thought of as X-factors by the management: Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, and Rahul Tripathi.
Given the Australian conditions, players such as Samson, Avesh, Umran are the ones who would be a good fit but all of them are yet to perform consistently at the international level.
However, the closest of all these fringe players who could make the cut in the last 15 is none other than – Harshal Patel who would give a great option for India to have along with Bumrah in the death while this also will give the skipper the freedom to bowl Bhuvneshwar or Shami’s 3 or even 4 overs upfront. So, Harshal Patel, with his coterie of variations, is the one for us who makes the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup.
For the last spot, we will go with a spinner – since both Jadeja and Chahal turn the ball the same way – the inclusion of Axar Patel won’t add much variety. Hence, we have gone with the man who made a surprise entry to India’s squad last year: RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN.
Ashwin was superb in dovetailing with Chahal for RR – the off-spinner picked 12 wickets at an economy of 7.5 – and also won them a game with the bat.
India’s predicted T20 World Cup 15-man squad:
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishan Kishan, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin