Indian youngster Devdutt Padikkal is the country’s latest cricketing hero… but he had plenty to thank his captain for.
India and England are using the ongoing T20I series to find their best team for the T20 World Cup.
The good news is that both the teams are close to finding their best XI for the tournament due to take place in India in October 2021.
Let us look at what the Indian team could look like for the T20 World Cup.
The template for modern T20 batting is to bat deep and bat with intent from ball one.
India will want to have eight batsmen who can hit the ball hard in what will be excellent batting surfaces. These eight will be a combination of pure batsmen and all-rounders.
My selection of batsmen will be Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur.
The above unit has a good combination of right and left handers at the top. All the batsmen are fast-scoring T20 batsmen. If the pitch is a bit dicey, the unit contains technically brilliant players who can tackle that situation.
Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar and KL Rahul will be my reserve batsmen. Shreyas is in top form and can readily replace one of the middle-order batsmen in bad form.
Virat Kohli cannot go into the World Cup thinking of just five bowling options in the XI. He will want six players who can bowl at the international level.
The six first-choice bowlers will be Jasprit Bumrah, Thangarasu Natarajan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya and Shardul Takur.
If the pitch favours the spinners, then Washington Sundar can be looked at in Shardul Thakur’s place, which will not weaken the batting.
The above bowling unit will guarantee 20 solid overs for Virat. These bowlers understand T20 cricket and have excellent variations to cope in different pitch conditions. The bowling unit also has a good combination of left and right handers.
The above bowling unit is slightly light on spin bowling for Indian pitch conditions. However, we have often seen that medium pacers like Hardik and Shardul are hard to get away when they take the pace off and bowl those cutters.
The ability to mix pace with cutters makes medium-paced bowlers better bets in T20 cricket in India than pure spin bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal or Rahul Chahar. If dew is a problem, then the case for playing medium pacers gets even stronger.
Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy will be my reserve bowlers.
My final XI
Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Thangarasu Natarajan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
After a very long time, India has a squad on paper that can win the T20 World Cup. Virat would hope that his players will stay fit and be raring to go during the tournament.
It is high time that India’s love affair with T20 ended in a grand marriage.