The BCCI recently announced the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup to be played in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. The Virat Kohli-led side has most of the names expected to be there with the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah among others. However, the selectors sprang a few surprises as well. Seasoned opener Shikhar Dhawan and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal were not picked. Also, veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made a surprise comeback despite not having played any white-ball international cricket since 2017. We rate India’s T20 World Cup squad on a scale of 1-10, analysing various significant parameters.
Opening options: 7/10
India named three openers in the T20 World Cup squad, picking Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as the frontline openers. Given their consistent performances in the T20 format, Rohit and Rahul deserve their respective slots. However, dropping Dhawan in favour of the young Ishan Kishan sounds a bit unfair. With due respect to Kishan, he has done an impressive job for India in his short international career. However, Dhawan’s vast experience could have come in handy in an ICC tournament, where the left-hander loves to flourish. This is not to say that Kishan cannot perform, but on first look, Dhawan seems a better choice. Also, India could open with skipper Kohli if needed, pushing Rahul into the middle-order.
Middle-order strength: 8.5/10
Kohli (unless he opens), Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant will form the core of India’s middle-order at the T20 World Cup. The trio makes India one of the strongest middle-orders in the business. Kohli may have struggled for fluency in Tests but he has maintained his rhythm in the T20 format. Also, Yadav will be raring to prove himself after having got an opportunity on the big stage following a long wait. As for Pant, he was an unfinished product during the 2019 World Cup. He is still learning the tricks of the trade but is in a much better space now as compared to where he was two years back.
All-round prowess: 6/10
Every strong T20 side has at least three or four players who can make a game-changing impact with both bat and ball. This is one area where India could be found wanting. Ravindra Jadeja is the only genuine all-rounder in the team as of now, who can win games for India with the bat, ball and as a fielder as well. Yes, there is Hardik Pandya as well. But, there is a lot of uncertainty over his bowling. He needs to regain his batting form too by playing some good knocks in the IPL. Ashwin and Axar Patel are decent batters but can’t be expected to strike hefty blows with the willow.
Balance in bowling attack: 7.5/10
India have five spinners and three pacers in their 15-man squad, not counting Pandya. While the pitches in the UAE are expected to slow down considerably as the tournament progresses, one still feels India have picked one spinner too many. They could have gone in with an additional batter instead of someone like an Axar Patel since Jadeja also bowls left-arm spin. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar is a deserving choice. He has proved impressive under pressure situations. The selection of Ashwin could either be a masterstroke or a needless risk. Also, one needs to question whether Varun Chakravarthy did enough to be picked over Yuzvendra Chahal. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami deserve the spots but India should ideally have picked an extra pacer.
Standby players (9/10)
The three standby players are smart picks. In an ideal situation, Shreyas Iyer should have been in the 15. But considering he has only just recovered from a shoulder injury, keeping him as a backup is a sane move. Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar too merited places in the final 15 but couldn’t make the cut. Now they will have to wait for their chances, in case someone gets injured or tests COVID positive.