Wisden’s current India Under-25 T20I XI
@Aadya_Wisden 4 minute read
India’s first-choice T20I team could bear a new look in the near future, with a few notable big names likely to step away at some point. That would open up space for the next crop of players to settle themselves in – here’s a hypothetical current India XI for T20Is, featuring only Under 25 players (including those aged 25).
Stats updated up to August 20, 2022.
T20s: 82 matches, 2,069 runs @ 25.23, SR: 147.78, 17 50s, HS: 99
Shaw can really bruise a bowling attack with his relentless aggression, especially against the hard, new ball. He might (inexplicably for some) not be in India’s current plans, but there’s little to debate that only few can create the kind of impact he can have in the powerplay. At 22, he has a T20 strike rate of 147.78 (150-plus in the last two IPL seasons) from 82 games. He has played just one T20I.
T20Is: 19 matches, 543 runs @ 30.16, SR: 131.15, 4 50s, HS: 89
A worthy accomplice to Shaw’s mayhem, Kishan has his own brand of brisk run-scoring, rapidly accelerating at will at any juncture of the game. Strong square of the wicket on both sides, he can clear the infield with ease, and is always a dangerous prospect during the powerplay. He’s got two T20 hundreds – if given enough time, he can headline an innings single-handedly. And yes, he keeps as well.
Uncapped in T20Is
T20s: 89 matches, 2,317 runs @ 32.18, SR: 126.19, 16 50s, HS: 96
His fluid strokeplay is usually reserved for the opening spots, but Gill could bring some sort of solidity at three in an and amongst the natural hitters around him, the kind of role that Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer usually play in the first-choice team. He can score briskly off pace, dismantle spin, and keep the run-rate ticking, while being a sensible head who can solidly lay the foundations of an innings. He’s yet to play a T20I though: the future should have a spot for him.
T20Is: 54 matches, 883 runs @ 23.86, SR; 126.32, 3 50s, HS: 65*
The most experienced member of the side, Pant is a definite must-have: an easy winner among under-25 wicketkeeping options. And while his T20I career hasn’t quite blossomed in the way he has in Tests, Pant is still a force to reckon with in the format and whose 2018 IPL campaign ranks among the best in the competition’s history.
T20s: 29 matches, 778 runs @ 32.41, SR: 136.97, 5 50s, HS: 75
We’ve probably overdone left-handers here, but the uncapped Tilak Varma, on recent form, is too good to miss. He looked like the part in his debut IPL season, being a bright spark despite Mumbai Indians hopping from defeat to defeat. He was among the runs in the 2021/22 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) as well, and is one of the finest Indian teenage batters going around.
T20s: 68 matches, 1,155 runs @ 24.57, SR: 138.65, 5 50s, HS: 63*
It took some time, but Rinku has started to hit the right chords of late, translating the long-standing promise into performance. A feisty middle-order presence with the ability to land the sucker punch, Rinku averaged 93 in the last SMAT, and had his best IPL season in 2022, striking at 149 and averaging nearly 35. Another uncapped player, but a good fit if India need a finisher in the future.
T20Is: 31 matches, 25 wickets @ 30.00, BBI: 3-22, ER: 7.24; 47 runs @ 6.71, SR: 146.87, HS: 14*,
An international player since 2017, Sundar has been afflicted by injuries throughout his career, struggling to build any sort of momentum in India kit. There has been enough and more to show what he’s capable of – a tidy off-spinner who can really put the brakes on runs in the powerplay, and an able lower-order batter who can do a job when required. Not many players have shown this mix of skill-set and consistency at such a young age.
T20Is: 9 matches, 15 wickets @ 16.53, ER: 7.15, BBI: 4-16
Graduating from the U19 team to India honours in little time, Ravi Bishnoi has been hailed for being a fearless and expressive leggie, traits increasingly becoming a rarity in a batting-heavy game. His googly stands out, and he manages to invariably pick up wickets even against a barrage of runs, climbing ahead of other leg-spinning options to be a regular preference for India in T20Is.
T20Is: 3 matches, 2 wickets @ 56.00, ER: 12.44, BBI: 1-42
On any given day, he hurls absolute rockets. For a country long-deprived of a genuine out-and-out quick, Umran has quickly caught the imagination of the public and left experts raving in anticipation. He regularly tested the speed gun in the IPL, and got his first taste of international cricket in June as well. If honed correctly, he could go a long way.
T20Is: 6 matches, 9 wickets @ 14.55, ER: 6.33, BBI: 3-12
He’s accurate, he’s sharp and he’s street-smart – add to that the advantage of the angle he creates as a left-armer, and you have a package that could serve India for years. Arshdeep was an easy choice here: ever since he lit up IPL 2020 with his yorkers at the death, he’s been on the national radar, and finally made the jump earlier this year.
T20Is: 13 matches, 11 wickets @ 31.81, ER: 8.67, BBI: 4-18
Another player who shed early inhibitions around him with solid performances, Avesh – a few yards quicker and a lot smarter than a few years ago – has nested himself in India’s extended T20I attack. It’s been the result of consistently hitting the right lengths, working on his variations, and bringing out more pace, all of which have been on display in the IPL. If everything goes right, he could be a future attack leader.