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New Zealand v India 2022

Stick or twist: What should India do with those who featured at the T20 World Cup?

Who should India stick with and who should they discard?
by Shashwat Kumar 4 minute read

India’s T20 World Cup campaign came to a grinding halt against England at the Adelaide Oval. Shashwat Kumar analyses the current group and tries to answer which players should be stuck with and who should be discarded.

Rohit Sharma – twist

The India captain had a wretched tournament, both with the bat and in the field. Ahead of the T20 World Cup, he exuded confidence, speaking about all the right things. But in clutch moments, he and India fell back on their conservative roots. Rohit is not getting any younger, and by the time the next T20 World Cup comes around, he will be 37. Neither age, fitness nor form might warrant him a place by then.

KL Rahul – twist

A player with massive potential, Rahul has made it a point to disappoint when expectations are high. Barring fifties against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, he could not get going. The lack of runs were a problem but the circumspect approach was a bigger issue. He has the talent to turn things around and has been cast a possible leadership candidate too. So far, there is not a lot of evidence to suggest that he can actually effect that turnaround.


Virat Kohli – twist

So, this is going to be controversial but just try understanding the reasoning (for once). Kohli’s return to form was one of the few bright spots for India in Australia. But if you put aside his innings against Pakistan, he could not really answer the questions around his strike rate. He averaged just under 100 but those runs only came at a strike rate of 136, which is not quite what India want from a dynamic top order batter. Kohli is also too valuable in other formats, meaning that preserving him is paramount. That he will almost be 36 when the next T20 World Cup is held, could make this decision easier. I would like to see a top three of Pant, Samson, Suryakumar while there is plenty of time to groom someone like Iyer or Hooda for that No. 4 spot.

Suryakumar Yadav – stick

This is, simply put, a no-brainer. Arguably the best T20 batter on the planet, Suryakumar can walk into any T20 outfit in the world, let alone a side that massively depends on him to be the point of difference. He is 32 but has already shown that he understands T20 batting better than anyone else in the current India set-up.

Rishabh Pant – stick

The numbers don’t indicate that Pant is a top-quality T20I batter. Most of those innings, however, have come lower down the order, where he has not had the time to get set at the crease. India have fiddled with the idea of Pant opening the batting and that could be the key to unlocking his potential. Sticking with Pant is another fairly straightforward decision.

Hardik Pandya – stick

Of course. Not only because of what he brings to the table, but also because he could be India’s next permanent T20I captain. Mature and capable of single-handedly winning India matches, Pandya should start every game if he is fit. As he showed during the IPL, he is a shrewd tactician too. Maybe India could also think about giving Ashish Nehra an India gig and rekindle the partnership that was so successful for Gujarat Titans.

Axar Patel – stick

Axar did not set the world alight but was not trusted enough as well. He hardly bowled and when he did, he was taken apart. Against England, India promoted R Ashwin over him, despite Axar’s hitting pedigree being greater. How India use him in the coming years is another matter altogether. But based on his skill-set, he should be a part of whatever plans they make.

R Ashwin – twist

Ashwin had an ordinary T20 World Cup campaign. His game-awareness against Pakistan will be garlanded forever, and rightly so. But he failed to do what he was primarily being played for – bowl well. He conceded more than 8 runs per over and rarely picked up wickets, apart from the games against Netherlands and Zimbabwe. Another who does not have age on his side – Ashwin will be nearing his 38th birthday by the time the next T20 World Cup comes around.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – stick

Dropping Bhuvneshwar immediately would be a knee-jerk reaction, considering he has been India’s most economical bowler this year. He was taken apart by England but almost every India player endured a bad day at the Adelaide Oval. He is not getting any younger and he will face stiff competition from Deepak Chahar. For now, though, it makes sense for Bhuvneshwar to continue.

Mohammed Shami – twist

Shami was called in as an emergency replacement, once it became clear that Jasprit Bumrah might not feature at the T20 World Cup. He did not do anything wrong but he was not as penetrative as it would have been hoped for either. The other factor to be considered is that he is a very important part of India’s ODI and Test sides. And with many young pacers coming through the ranks in the shortest format, Shami could do with a bit of rest.

Arshdeep Singh – stick

India’s best bowler at the T20 World Cup, and it is not even a debate. That he was playing his first ICC event only shows how promising the future is, both for him and India. Barring the odd expensive spell, he handled pressure well and could be the fulcrum around which India build their T20I bowling attack.

Dinesh Karthik – twist

Karthik was brought into the side, with India hoping that he would be able to finish off games calmly. Three frantic knocks at the T20 World Cup, and India lost faith in him. This was looked at as a last dance for Karthik and with him unlikely to be around till the next T20 World Cup, it would make sense for India to groom someone else in that role.

Deepak Hooda – stick

Hooda, much like Axar, did not do much of note at this edition. The talent and the potential, though, is undeniable. If given the chance to bat at the top of the order, Hooda could flourish. His ability to send down a couple of overs is also a quality India must cultivate moving forward.

Harshal Patel – twist

Harshal broke onto the scene after a stellar 2021 IPL campaign but has fallen off since. In T20Is this year, he has shipped more than 9 runs per over and his variations seem to have been worked out. With opposition teams having two more years to decipher his variations, he might find it tough to have any sort of impact in international cricket.

Yuzvendra Chahal – stick

Again, a tricky question to answer. Chahal did not bowl a single ball at the T20 World Cup in Australia, a year after he was omitted from the squad altogether for the 2021 edition. If there is a lack of trust in his abilities, the end could be nigh for him. But if the next captain can come in, give him belief, and some game-time, there is still a match-winner in there. Maybe it will be third-time lucky for the leg-spinner.

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