With Doubts Over Jasprit Bumrah’s Fitness; India’s T20 World Cup Squad Set to be Announced Next Week

With the Asia Cup done and dusted, India do not have any further matches or series left to iron out any more chinks they may have in their armour before the Indian squad is announced for the T20 World Cup in Australia. India do have two T20I series at home to play before the T20 World Cup – against Australia and South Africa – but both the series will be treated as warm-ups for India’s final T20 Squad to get some game time in, or that’s what we may want to think. The Indian squad is likely to be announced on September 16 whilst the home series starts four days later.

However, India do have a selection headache with the final T20 World Cup squad. The lynchpin of the Indian attack, Jasrpit Bumrah, has been out of action since the England tour and had to miss the Aisa Cup 2022 as well owing to a back injury. The other T20I specialist Harshal Patel is also under the scanner and is recovering from a rib injury. India were dealt a major blow in the Asia Cup without the services of their first choice T20I bowlers and India were knocked out of the Asia Cup 2022 in the Super4 stage, owing to poor bowling performances.


Fretting Over Bumrah

“Bumrah has not been declared fit yet,” a BCCI source was quoted as saying by a national daily. Bumrah was at the National Cricket Academy interacting with the next crop of Indian cricketers earlier this month and he is expected to be at the NCA just before the selectors sit down to select the team for the T20 World Cup. His fitness will determine the selection, while the news on Harshal is that he is recovering well and is likely to return to full fitness. Reportedly, he will be available for selection for the home series, which essentially means he is most likely to be named in the Indian T20 World Cup squad.

On the basis of performances in the Asia Cup, it looks certain that Avesh Khan will miss out and India will have the tough choice when it comes to picking either one from the swing bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar. Notwithstanding Kumar’s superlative spell of 5/4 against Afghanistan on Thursday, the UP bowler struggled in the death overs, leaking 19 and 14 runs in the Pakistan and Sri Lanka games, respectively.

‘I Batted Out of My Skin And Surprised Myself’- Virat Kohli After Maiden T20I Century

Bhuvneshwar or Chahar or both

With Australian pitches not as much conducive to swing bowling, the selectors may as well eventually decide to travel with one swing bowler in the squad and Chahar, who himself is making a comeback after a lengthy injury layoff, could pip the more experienced Kumar owing to his ability to bowl in the death overs and slightly superior batting skills than Kumar. There is also some bit of clamour to include Mohammad Shami, who has been ignored in this format for a long time. To put into perspective, Shami’s last T20 game came in November 2021 – against Namibia in the T20 World Cup 2021, in a tournament which was rather uneventful for the Amroha-born speedster.

Arshdeep Singh may have received a lot of flak over that dropped catch like Chetan Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah his name is now etched in the India-Pakistan rivalry for the wrong reasons, there is no denying the fact that the youngster held his bowl with the ball in the death over and more than deserves a trip to Australia as one of the backup pacers. The bonus is that he is a left-armer, adding variety to the attack.

‘It Doesn’t Mean We’re a Terrible Team’ – Rahul Dravid on India’s Performance in Super 4 Stage

With Virat Kohli returning to form with two fifties and a hundred to his name, the debate over his place in the squad looks more or less settled while KL Rahul also seems to have done enough to get some of his critics off his back with a 62 against Afghanistan. Mind you, Rahul’s place in the squad was never in doubt, as he is the vice-captain for this side and even captained India in the Afghanistan game with Rohit Sharma resting himself. However, with Kohli proving himself to be a worthy option to open, the selectors now will think hard on whether to opt for a backup opener to travel to Australia or they will look to strengthen their bowling department and have an extra bowler journey with the team. In that case, Ishan Kishan may very well miss the bus.

The DK-Pant Conundrum

This brings to the wicketkeepers/finishers in the squad and it will be a real toss-up here even though both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant are likely to feature in the squad. While Karthik ended up bowling more deliveries than he faced in the entire Asia Cup, to be fair to him, he did not get a consistent run in the Asia Cup. On the other hand, Pant was dropped for the first Pakistan game, and after that had unconvincing scores of 14, 17 and 20*. His being a left-hander who can also bat at the top of the order will work in his favour, but there is a very definite outside chance for India to give Sanju Samson a ticket to Australia. Will it be at the expense of either one from Pant or Karthik or he travel as the backup keeper, and that will be something interesting to keep an eye out for.

Even though Ravindra Jadeja’s unavailability compounds Sharma’s headache of picking a balanced XI, it makes the selector’s job a bit easy with Axar Patel most likely to be drafted in his place in the squad. It will be interesting to see if Deepak Hooda manages to retain his place as a batting allrounder and the sixth bowling option. Hardik Pandya will be India’s lead all-rounder, but the Asia cup 2022 proved that he is yet to develop himself as one of the premier bowling options at Rohit Sharma’s disposal in this Indian team.

Bishnoi Ahead of Ashwin?

On to spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal had a rather indifferent Asia Cup; but that was till the Sri Lanka game where he returned with three wickets, albeit going at over 10 runs per over. But, his consistent performances in the last couple of series cannot be overlooked and more or less merits a place in the team as the lead spinner. R Ashwin’s surprise selection had raised a few eyebrows and even though he did not put any eye-popping performances, he managed one wicket each at a decent economy in the two games he played and even scored a 7-ball 15 not out. It will be a tricky choice to leave him out, and even trickier to pick him. And the reason for that is the exciting young prospect Ravi Bishnoi, who impressed in the only game he played –that too against Pakistan in the Asia Cup – and in fact looked the more aggressive wrist spinner than Chahal. He is somebody who can bowl in the powerplay and someone in the Rashid Khan mould. He does have an outside chance to make the squad and he could be the surprise element Rahul Dravid and Co. may look to unleash come to the T20 World Cup.

India likely Squad for T20 World Cup

Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (V/C), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (WK), Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar, Deepak Hooda, Arshdeep Singh, Ravi Bishnoi, Dinesh Karthik

Get the latest Cricket News, Schedule and Cricket Live Scores here