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Hardik to Bumrah: India’s 2021 T20I World Cup Squad Contenders

It was announced earlier in 2020 that India will be hosting the ICC Men’s 2021 T20 World Cup and is expected to start the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Players like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah will make the Indian T20 team much stronger especially given their current form.

The 2016 T20 World Cup was hosted in India itself and the host nation crashed out in the semi-finals to eventual champions West Indies. There’s no doubt that the current generation of the Indian T20I team is better-balanced and stand a much better chance of winning the trophy for the second time since the inaugural one in 2008.

Here we take a look at the players who could make it to the 2021 T20 World Cup.

TOP-ORDER BATSMEN

The kind of talent India has in their domestic circuit when it comes to the top-order batsman is remarkable. Currently, India are blessed with four batters in KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who would walk into any top order in the world. There are some tough calls to be made by the management to pick three from these four.

In the recently-concluded Indian T20 League, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan finished as the top two highest run-getters of the tournament respectively. Rohit Sharma made history by lifting his fifth trophy and Virat Kohli with his innings in the third T20I against Australia tells us the class of the man. Some tough calls need to be made concerning the balance of the team. Rohit Sharma can also bat at number four and that could be a possible solution for this dilemma.

MIDDLE ORDER BATSMEN

The unsettled middle order in the Indian batting line-up would be a concern for the management. None of the players took up the responsibility of finishing the games in the three T20I matches in Australia. Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey were used in that role and none of them were able to grab the headlines to make that position for them. Pandey was just given the single opportunity in the first match and was dropped for the subsequent two matches. India have a few options in the domestic circuit in Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rishab Pant to consider for these positions.

ALL-ROUNDERS

Yet again a role India are blessed with some decent options. Ravindra Jadeja has had a coming of age feeling as a batsman, Hardik Pandya is hitting the ball better than he has ever done and Washington Sundar gives the team multiple options in the way the captain wants to use him. India just needs Hardik Pandya to remodel his bowling options before the World Cup and it’ll complete an already pretty complete T20I team. Krunal Pandya, Axar Patel and Shivam Dube are the options in their ranks if an unfortunate injury was to take place.

SPIN BOWLERS

Given the fact that the World Cup would be played in India, spin bowlers would hold the key for any team to be successful. The current crop of spinners for India are Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Chahal is one of the best T20 bowlers going around in the world and seems like the first choice. There are concerns with Kuldeep Yadav’s white-ball bowling and he didn’t feature in any of the three T20Is in Australia as well. There aren’t many options for India in the pure spin bowling department. Varun Chakravarthy was initially picked for the tour but was ruled out because of a shoulder injury. Will he get a call up against England? Is it time to go back to R Ashwin in T20 cricket? Or give a chance to Rahul Chahar and play two leg spinners in the XI? Something for the management to ponder on.

FAST BOWLERS

The emergence of T Natarajan gives India more options in the fast bowling department. With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, India were already blessed with world-class options in the department. Deepak Chahar with the new ball is lethal and now they have three brilliant death overs bowlers as well. Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur are more than capable options in the reserves.

 

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