Before drilling down into the World Cup T20 squad analysis, let us first take a look at the 15-player squad that has been selected for the tournament.
India squad for ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami.
The surprise inclusion of the experienced duo of Jadeja and Ashwin
Many consider Ashwin and Jadeja to be India’s best in the longer format of the game, so their inclusion in the World Cup squad comes as a surprise.
If we look at their T20 stats, the inclusion of their names stands to reason. Ashwin has 52 scalps to his name at an economy of 6.97. His recent performances in the IPL and Test cricket have also helped to cement his position. Jadeja’s all-around abilities are unrivalled. His ability to score quick four overs, providing stability at the lower batting order with exceptional fielding skills will be critical in increasing India’s chances of winning the World Cup.
New pair of leggies
Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarty will provide leg-spinning options for India in the upcoming World Cup. The selection of both of these spinners might be based on two factors: (a) their performance in the previous three seasons of the IPL, and (b) the spinning tracks of the UAE.
Rahul Chahar was one of the reasons Mumbai Indians won the IPL last season, and he is currently one of the top bowlers in IPL 2021, with 11 wickets at an average of 18.36 and an economy of 7.21. Varun Chakravarty, on the other hand, had one of the best seasons of the IPL in 2020, which was also held in the UAE, giving him an advantage over Yuzvender Chahal, who is more experienced.
Selection of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan (WK), who scored 516 runs in the IPL 2020, with a staggering average of 57.33 and a strike rate of 145 alongside Surya Kumar Yadav, have both been rewarded for their recent IPL performances. SKY also had a good IPL 2020 season, scoring 480 runs at an average of 40. Since IPL 2020 concluded in the UAE, it could have played a significant role in their selection.
Key players to watch out for
KL Rahul and Surya Kumar Yadav – Rahul has established himself as one of the best Indian batsmen in the game’s shortest format. He is India’s leading T20 scorer in 2021, Is in excellent form, along with MI’s Surya Kumar, who made his debut this year and scored two fifties in three innings.
Rahul Chahar and R Ashwin – Rahul Chahar, who performed well in the IPL and the recently concluded Sri Lanka series, will most likely be India’s first-choice spinner. It will also be interesting to see how Captain Kohli employs Experienced Ashwin, whose inclusion surprised many.
Exclusion of Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvender Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal, India’s leading wicket-taker in International T20s, alongside Dhawan, who captained India in the recently concluded T20 series were both excluded from the squad competing in the T20 World Cup. Dhawan’s exclusion came as a surprise as he is also among the top scorers in the previous two seasons of the IPL. One of the reasons for his omission could be his low strike rate.
Predicted Playing 11
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Yuzvendra Chahal, India’s best T20 leggie was unexpectedly left out of the World Cup squad, so Rahul Chahar, another leggie who performed well in the IPL and T20I series in Sri Lanka, will now represent India in the World Cup. Varun Chakravarty and Rahul Chahar will provide variety in spin bowling, Along with Ashwin, who last played a T20I in 2017, who leads a 15-man squad that includes five spinners.
Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul will be the key pillars of the batting line-up as Shikhar Dhawan misses out despite his IPL performances. Ishan Kishan replaced Sanju Samson as Rishabh Pant’s backup wicketkeeper in the 15-man squad. Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur, who was expected to be named in the squad proper are also on the standby’s list.
Hardik Pandya is the only fast-bowling allrounder available, and he will complement the specialist fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Apart from Pandya, the squad also includes spin allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
The BCCI also announced that former India captain MS Dhoni will be mentoring the team for the tournament. MS Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the greatest T20 captains of all time, and his cricketing mind and genius are unmatched.
Do you think MS Dhoni’s calm and composed demeanour will benefit Team India in a high-pressure situation and help them secure their 2nd T20 World Cup?