2021 Men's T20 World Cup: 5 Indian Players Who Could be Brought in to the Squad
Will the BCCI and the Indian team management make changes to the squad of 15 ahead of the T20 World Cup?
The 2021 men’s T20 World Cup squad for India has generated a lot of interest since it was announced. While some of it was largely due to the addition of MS Dhoni as mentor, some others reacted to a few surprises decisions as some big names had missed the bus.
And what’s really set the cat among the pigeons is the fact that some of India’s 15 have not been doing well since the squad was announced. While the likes of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma to name a few have been doing their thing in the IPL for their respective franchises, some of India’s lesser experienced players have struggled.
The likes of Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, specially, all of whom had a fantastic IPL 2020 and broke into the Indian team have been not been able to replicate the same form. Such has been the difference in performances that experts have been left wondering whether the selection committee might have to make a few changes to the Indian squad for the showpiece tournament.
Will the BCCI make changes to the squad which is hoping to win their first T20 World Cup title since 2007, when MS Dhoni was captain?
Here’s a look at some of the players who are knocking on the BCCI selectors’ door ahead of the World Cup. The BCCI remember have time till 10 October to make changes to the T20 World Cup squad.
Till very recently, India’s top spinner in the shortest format, Chahal’s stocks took a beating once cricket resumed in the COVID-19 pandemic, opening the door for Rahul Chahar. However, Chahal, who was still expected to be first choice for the World Cup, has turned things around in the IPL this year with Royal Challengers Bangalore, regaining his form and his confidence.
For RCB, Chahal has picked 10 wickets in 5 games in UAE so far and was in fine form with the Indian team on tour to Sri Lanka as well, where he played 1 T20I and 2 ODIS and took 6 wickets.
Rahul Chahar meanwhile has managed only 2 wickets from 4 games for Mumbai, who have also been woefully out of form. Chahar however did bag 4 wickets in 2 T20Is in Sri Lanka.
Part of the Indian World Cup contingent as a reserve, Chahar will feel hard done for missing the 15. However, just like Chahal, his form recently has been quite good for Chennai Super Kings, whereas Bhuvneshwar Kumar has struggled in comparison with Sunrisers Hyderabad, who themselves have had a fair amount of problems.
Chahar has not only picked wickets in India colours in every game in Sri Lanka that he played but has also led the CSK bowling attack brilliantly, regularly getting breakthroughs in the powerplay and helping his franchise return their lofty heights.
While Deepak has picked 4 wickets since the IPL returned to UAE, Bhuvi has only 2 to his name and has not looked as menacing. Chahar is also known to be a handy batter in the lower order.
Another in-form CSK player who is a reserve and not part of the 15 as of now. Shardul Thakur’s last 12 odd months has been exceptional wherein he has always made telling contributions for his team, across formats.
Shardul is currently the leading wicket-taker for MS Dhoni’s side in IPL 2021 with 15 wickets in 13 matches ahead of Dwayne Bravo (12 wickets) and Chahar (12 wickets).
What makes Shardul an even stronger contender just ahead of the World Cup is that India’s first pick for a pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been nowhere close to his usual dynamic self. Hardik was expected to bowl in the second half of the IPL as well but has not yet raising serious questions about his place in the squad as a batter.
Given the comparison of form, there is every chance that Shardul is drafted in from being a reserve and who knows, the happy habit of making telling contributions might just be what the doctor ordered for India?
Back from injury in the second half of IPL 2021, Shreyas has been among the runs for Delhi Capitals. While he has not been handed back the captaincy, Shreyas has made his presence felt scoring 124 runs with a top-score of 47 not out in 4 games so far.
And while there is some concern about the fact that Shreyas isn’t as free scoring a batter as Suryakumar Yadav, the latter’s form has been worrying. The MI batter’s 33 off 26 balls against the Delhi Capitals was his best knock after all single-digit scores before that in the UAE phase of IPL 2021. Iyer meanwhile also scored an unbeaten 33 but guided his side home to a win in tough batting conditions in Sharjah.
For India, Shreyas has scored at an average of 28.94 in T20 games with an impressive strike-rate of 133.81 with three fifties in 29 games.
Another surprising miss from India’s T20 World Cup squad was the experienced Shikhar Dhawan, who in recent years has addressed his slowish approach in white ball cricket and upped the ante. A regular in the Delhi Capitals batting line-up, Dhawan has been among DC’s brightest performers in the last three years.
This season too, Dhawan has been in terrific form and is one of three batters to have scored more than 500 runs in the IPL. He was also among the runs during India’s tour of Sri Lanka, getting a couple of 40s in two T20s. Dhawan had captained the Indian team on the limited overs tour and could be in line for a recall at the expense of Ishan Kishan, who has been out of form and low on confidence.
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