Explained: Why Deepak Hooda Has Been Picked For The T20 World Cup 2022

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Explained: Why Deepak Hooda Has Been Picked For The T20 World Cup 2022

Deepak Hooda

Deepak Hooda has had a fantastic 2022: making his India debut in February, Hooda has featured in 12 matches and in 9 T20I innings for India, the Rohtak batter has scored 293 runs at a terrific strike rate of 155, including cracking a century vs Ireland; in the IPL 2022, the Lucknow batter had a breakthrough season, scoring 451 runs, at an average of 32 and strike rate of 136.

However, this is not the only reason that Hooda was in India’s Asia Cup squad and now finds a place in the 15-man T20 World Cup squad.

While his batting got him an India selection, the 27-year-old’s ability to offer something with the ball went a long way in him getting the nod over the likes of Shreyas Iyer (who is in the reserves) and Sanju Samson, who isn’t even in the reserves and who had similar batting numbers to Hooda in the IPL 2022.

The selectors are really banking on Deepak Hooda’s bowling, on him giving something to the side with his part-time off-spin. So much that the team management played him ahead of Axar Patel in the Asia Cup matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka - both of which India lost - and made him bat at number 7, out of his regular position which is in the top 5 where he attained his success for Lucknow.

Deepak Hooda
Image Source - Twitter

Deepak Hooda's off-spin bowling made his case stronger

To give some credit to the management, Hooda isn’t inexperienced as a bowler - he’s bowled over 2000 deliveries in his List-A plus T20 career so far. But, one must not forget bowling in international cricket, under high pressure, is a totally different challenge.

This move by the Indian management - to use Hooda at a finisher in the Asia Cup, instead of the middle-order slots where he is expected to be most effective as a spin basher - was met with plenty of doubts which turned into criticism as India finished with par scores which were chased down by Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Ravindra Jadeja’s injury messed up India’s plans as they then played Hooda as the batting all-rounder (though his bowling wasn’t used at all in the two defeats) and were forced to play Rishabh Pant instead of Dinesh Karthik to have at least one left-hander in the top seven.

This further jeopardized the finishing duties - for which Karthik was picked initially but then was benched because India wanted a left-hander! And that meant Hooda, a lesser of a finisher than Karthik, was playing as a finisher. It all got messed up really bad after Jadeja’s injury. Hopefully, the management would be wiser at the T20 World Cup and see Hooda as a middle-order batsman first and not as a batting all-rounder.

India squad for ICC T20 World Cup 2022:

Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.

Reserves: Mohammed Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.