T20 WC: No Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand in former spinner Graeme Swann’s top-four picks


Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli during an IPL 2024 game (ANI)

Former English player has also backed India’s decision to take four spinners for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies

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Former England off-break spinner Graeme Swann picked his top four teams for the highly anticipated T20 World Cup, which is just more than a week away from kicking off in the USA. England will arrive in the West Indies and the USA to defend their crown in a tournament that is already in the history books before its commencement.

Since the inception of the tournament, this will be the first time the marquee event will feature 20 teams who will fight for World Cup glory.

Swann believes that the four teams that would make their way into the final four would be England, India, the West Indies, and, “unfortunately,” England’s arch-rival Australia. He chose West Indies, ahead of the likes of Pakistan, South Africa, and New Zealand.

“The top four teams I would go for are India and England, and then Australia, unfortunately, and then the West Indies,” said Swann. In seven months, England will once again step out to defend their crown after their quest went down the slump last year.

During their ODI World Cup title defence in India, England lived through a nightmare. The Three Lions were chasing the shadows of the 2019 winning team throughout the tournament. They failed to qualify for the knockout stages and ended up in the seventh spot with just six points in nine games. But Swann is optimistic about England’s chances of defending their crown in the upcoming edition. The former spinner feels that even though the tag of defending champions is hard to carry, England have a strong squad to rise to the challenge.

Graeme Swann has also backed India’s decision to take four spinners for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies. India took a lot of people by surprise by picking four spinners during their announcement for the 15-player squad of the upcoming marquee event, kicking off on June 1.

During the press conference earlier this month, India skipper Rohit Sharma revealed that he wanted four spinners in the squad for the highly-anticipated tournament. Some sections of fans and former cricketers have questioned India’s decision to take four spinners for the tournament.

But Swann believes that India made the right call of picking four spinners in their 15-player squad. “I think taking four spinners is absolutely the way to go in the Caribbean, and I think you should never question that,” Swann said.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh had questioned India’s decision as he feels that four spinners are a “bit too much”.

“I think selecting four spinners is a bit too much. Three would have been enough. I do not think we will ever play four spinners in a game. Ravindra Jadeja will play. Maybe Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will play with him. Maybe we will field three spinners in a game. We will get to know the combo on seeing the conditions,” Harbhajan told ANI earlier this week.

India named four spinners in the squad, consisting of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, and Yuzvendra Chahal. Rohit has played his cards close to the chest and didn’t reveal the reason behind the decision.

“I definitely wanted four spinners we have played a lot of cricket there, there is a technical aspect involved in it. There is a reason for four spinners which I am not going to say now but I wanted four spinners for sure and three seamers and Hardik being fourth,” Rohit said in a press conference earlier this month.

Notably, despite having four spinners in the squad, India still doesn’t possess an off-spinner in their talented pool of players.

Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin were the two available options to pick from the off-spin department. But India decided to go against the option due to both players lacking game time.

The Men in Blue will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against Ireland on June 5, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York, followed by the marquee clash against Pakistan on June 09 at the same venue. India will then play against the USA and Canada on June 12 and 15 respectively.

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