ICC T20 World Cup: With Bumrah out, Rahul, Virat and Pandya to be key players for India

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India’s T20 WC campaign will start against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 23 and will be looking forward to avenging that ten-wicket loss last year

Our Bureau
Mumbai

Former Indian women’s team skipper Anjum Chopra is optimistic that Team India will do well in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, however, she added that its star players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli will have to be in their best form and also get adequate support from likes of all-rounder Hardik Pandya as the shortest format of the game is pretty unpredictable. ICC T20 World Cup is set to begin from October 16 and will go on till November 13.

“We have already seen that the shortest format of the game is anybody’s game. We saw that recently during the Asia Cup. India is a very good team. But to say that India has a great chance is saying that other teams do not, which is unfair to say I think. We want India to win every trophy, but it cannot happen easily. If it clean sweeps South Africa, it does not really matter because when you are in a different country, participating in an ICC event, it is a different ball game. Every game is going to be competitive and contested,” said Anjum during an interview with ANI on Sunday.

“As a cricketer, we are supposed to be in form, score runs, take wickets and field well. It is our job as a player. Only if one is in form, then only he/she can survive in a playing eleven, otherwise, they have no business being there. For KL, Rohit and VK to be picked in a playing eleven, it is required that they are in best of their form.”

“If you saw the Asia Cup, there is place and importance for each type of player, be it KL, Rohit, Pandya or Virat. You will need different kinds of batters to make sure that your team comes out of a certain situation. Virat or any of these stars brings an added smile to our faces by performing. I am a big fan of Virat and Rohit and them doing well and succeeding. But that does not mean that I am not a fan of Hardik. I hope they continue to deliver good and win matches,” concluded the former Indian skipper.

India has had a lot of match practice ahead of the World Cup this year. They have won T20I series/matches against Australia, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka, Ireland and South Africa all year in a great manner. But to the shock of many, T20I delivered its dosage of unpredictability when the Asia Cup 2022 defending champions India could not even make it to the final of the tournament, finishing at third in the Super Four phase.

India’s T20 WC campaign will start against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 23 and will be looking forward to avenging that ten-wicket loss last year that ultimately played a big role in them getting knocked in the Super 12 stage itself.

Men in Blue are placed in Group 2 along with Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and two teams (B1 and A2) who will qualify for Super 12 after round one. India will be looking forward to lifting the trophy this time under new skipper and head coach, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.

Ever since his return to cricket after a month-long break, Virat has shown heavy glimpses of his vintage self. He ended the Asia Cup 2022 as a second-best batter, with 276 runs in five innings with one ton and two half-century. In the series against Australia that followed, he hit 76 runs in three innings, including a match-winning 63 in the final T20I at Hyderabad.

In eight innings so far since his return, he has had a century and three fifties under his belt. Overall, this year, Virat has scored 433 runs at an average of 43.30, with one century and four fifties in 12 innings.

On the other hand, in 20 T20Is this year, skipper Rohit Sharma has managed 497 runs at an average of 27.61 with two fifties.

KL Rahul has blown hot and cold since his return after injury in Asia Cup. In eight T20Is this year, he has scored 198 runs at an average of 24.75 and managed to score two half-centuries.

Team India’s next assignment before World Cup is a home series against South Africa, which will start from September 28 and will feature three T20Is and three ODIs.

India squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh. Standby players – Mohd. Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.

Bumrah not to play because of injury

India’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah is likely to be ruled out of the upcoming T20 World Cup, starting October 16.

Bumrah is believed to be ruled out of the competition with a back injury. As per BCCI, the right-arm quick is out of action because of the complained of back pain. “Jasprit Bumrah complained of back pain during India’s practice session on Tuesday. The BCCI Medical Team assessed him. He is ruled out of the first #INDvSA T20I,” BCCI tweeted earlier on Wednesday.

Bumrah had not travelled with the team for the opening T20I against South Africa, played at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Bumrah, who had also ruled out of the Asia Cup 2022 due to his back problem, and was training at the National Cricket Academy, played the last two T20Is against Australia.

Suryakumar Yadav reaches second spot in T20I Rankings

Suryakumar Yadav has moved up a slot to attain second position with career-best rating points in the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings for batters, only a couple of points up from Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who is at third position.

In the latest weekly update that considers performances in the second and third matches of the India-Australia series, Yadav is up to a career-best-equaling second position with 801 rating points after smashing a match-winning 69 off 36 deliveries in the third match in Hyderabad on Sunday that helped clinch the series 2-1. Babar, who had occupied the No.1 position for 1,155 days before being overtaken by team-mate Mohammad Rizwan early this month, was named Player of the Match for an unbeaten 110 in the second T20I of their ongoing seven-match series against Australia and followed it up with scores of eight and 36 in the third and fourth matches, which were also played over the past week.

India captain Rohit Sharma has inched up one place to 13th position after scores of 46 not out and 17 while Matthew Wade (up six places to 62nd), Cameron Green (up 31 places to 67th) and Tim David (up 202 places to 109th) are the Australia players to move up the rankings. Green and David had notched half-centuries in the final match of the series.

India spinners Axar Patel (up from 33rd to 18th) and Yuzvendra Chahal (up from 28th to 26th) have moved up the bowlers’ list, which continues to be led by Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.

England batter Harry Brook’s scores of 31, 81 not out and 34 in Pakistan have lifted him 118 places to 29th position while Ben Duckett has soared 1,070 places to 32nd position after scoring 43, 70 not out and 33 in those three matches.

Reece Topley is up 14 places to 23rd and is the third third-highest ranked England bowler after Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan while Pakistan speedster Haris Rauf is up seven places to 14th position after taking five wickets in the last three matches. Mark Wood (up 29 places to 40th) and Sam Curran (up five places to 47th) have also progressed.

Adapting to conditions will be biggest challenge

Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour has said the team is looking to improve in all three departments of the game prior to the T20 World Cup next month in Australia and adapting to the conditions there will be the biggest challenge for the team.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of India’s first T20 match against South Africa, the coach said the batters were getting better strike rate and batting with more intent. “We are close to the World Cup, we have been I think playing pretty good cricket as far as the team is concerned. But still, there are areas that we are looking to improve. That goes for batting, bowling as well as fielding. So we are focusing on all three departments and working hard with the players and I think playing in Australia will be very different to what we have been playing so far. Adapting to those conditions will be the biggest challenge,” the batting coach said.

Replying to queries, he said the team has been putting “par or plus par scores every time we have batted first”.

“Definitely depends on the surface that we are playing on. But when you say that we haven’t been able to put up scores, I don’t agree with that. Batting first was one of the concerns but since the last T20 world cup we have been putting par or plus par scores every time we have batted first. So, I don’t think that is an issue,” Rathour said.

“There is a visible shift in the way we have been batting. The approach has changed a bit. We are actually being more aggressive when we are in there. We are I think playing with better strike rates and more intent and I think that is pretty evident since the last World Cup. “We have been able to put par or above par scores,” he added.

The coach defended the bowling unit’s performance in the past matches and said the team was trying to get better at bowling in the last overs.

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