The World Cup is the pinnacle of any sport. Despite the personal fan bases of cricketers clamouring for them on social media, a great player does not feel fulfilled without a World Cup in his kitty. It is one of the major reasons why World Cup teams are subjected to harsher analysis.
Australia is a tough place to play cricket
On 16th October this year, the 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup will kick off. The venue is Australia. Playing conditions are tougher than anywhere else in the world. Grounds are bigger and pitches are bouncier and faster. However, technical difficulties are only the tip of the iceberg. Australians are well-known for treating foreign players with “not so much” respect as other countries treat them.
Kevin Pietersen has revealed being yelled at on Australian streets. When it comes to trolling opposition players, the crowd, press and even Police come together. Apparently, Steve Waugh’s strategy of mental breakdown is still being followed. These are the reasons why once conquering Australia was hailed as the epitome of the success in cricket. India’s Team selection for the T20 World Cup this year is a step in that direction. It is more designed to conquer Australian soil, rather than the trophy itself, because once you conquer the former, the latter would just be a formality.
Ashwin will be complemented by Patel and Chahal
Mental toughness is in fact one reason why Ravichandran Ashwin has been chosen instead of younger Ravi Bishnoi. Ashwin is known for his “in your eyes” approach, both in the field and during press conferences. He would be an able add on to Kohli’s aggression. On field Ashwin gives India more options than Bishnoi. He is probably the most versatile spinner in the world and also a handy batsman down the order. His batting is in fact more than just a late border flourish. The man is technically sound and can be used as a stabiliser of the innings. The only chink in his armor is that he is an off-spinner which is considered an easy prey on longer Australian grounds.
🚨 NEWS: India’s squad for ICC Men’s 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, Y Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, B Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 12, 2022
To complement Ashwin, who mainly bowls in to the batsman, left arm spinner Axar Patel and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal are present in the team. Most likely one of these will slow down the run rate while Ashwin with his experience will trap batsmen into playing big shots and try to get more wickets.
Pace bowling in mixed bag
In fact, it seems to be the main strategy of the team management since the pace bowlers in the team are also selected keeping this strategy in mind.
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are slated to inflict early damage to the opposition, while cutter bowlers like Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh are supposed to lure batsmen. If things go south, Bumrah can double up as both run stopper and wicket taker. Presence of Hardik Pandya as an allrounder who can bowl in later 130s adds another bonus to the team.
All rounders provide balance
Along with Hardik, Deepak Hooda is also in the team as an allrounder. His off-spin and big hitting abilities will off load some stress on Hardik Pandya down the order. Deepening on the situation, India will promote one of them to the top 5 and use the muscle power of other towards the fag end of the innings.
While bowling and late order batting looks settled with the comeback of Bumrah and Mohammed Shami on standby, batting is a bigger reason of concern.
Chance for Rohit to revive his form
India’s Top 3 is not stable to say the least. Rohit Sharma’s form has been dwindling from the past few months and the added burden of captaincy in the T20 World Cup may turn out to be a double edged sword for him. The good thing about Sharma’s prospects in Australia is that the pitches are bouncy and will generate more pace.
Sharma is an excellent player of cut-short and is considered one of all-time legends of pull and hook. It will be interesting to see whether captaincy and favourable batting conditions make him a hero or dampen his chances.
T20 World Cup- Big opportunity for Rahul and Kohli
Vice captain KL Rahul and Virat Kohli are also on the tenterhooks. Both are suffering from poor form. While Kohli has somehow scored his 71st century, the fact remains that it came against a weak Afghanistan bowling line-up. On the other hand, Rahul has shown some signs of occasional brilliance, but has mostly remained under confident.
Both players have a chance to resuscitate their careers in Australia. Australia has been a happy hunting ground for both. While Kohli is still remembered for terrific centuries against a bowling line up led by Mitchell Jhonson, Rahul made his debut and scored his first Test century in the same series. It is just about calling inner demons for both of them and the Australian crowd may catalyse this process.
Rishabh is the weak link
In the middle order, players like Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant will handle India’s prospects. Yadav and Karthik have proven their mettle in the past and have been reliable for their respective teams, both in IPL and Indian Cricket team. For Karthik, it is last chance to register his name in the folklore of Indian cricket so he will certainly give his best. Yadav is an in form player and a bit unorthodox as well, which adds an edge to his batting. But Rishabh Pant’s consistency is a concern.
Rishabh is known as a no-nonsense hitter. But his reputation is mainly based on his IPL performance and not with the national team. In Indian jersey, he has scored meagre 934 runs in 51 innings with a paltry average of 23.94 runs per innings. Not only that, his strike rate also goes downhill while he is in the Blue jersey. While his overall T20 strike rate (both international and domestic) is more than 145, it drastically reduces to 126.21 in Indian colours. No wonder, 37 year old Karthik is touted as a better batsman than 24 year old Rishabh in a format called “Young man’s game”.
On papers, the team looks well-balanced and selectors have included every variable in their selection process. And keeping Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar in the reserved list is an indicator of that. But at the end of the day, players need to click in unison to enhance India’s prospects. Good players don’t always make a great team. The West Indies team is a prime example of it.
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