India’s 15-member squad announced for the T20 World Cup in the UAE has more spinners than pacers. India announced a strong squad which has a mix of youth and experience and comprises six specialist batsmen in captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan. There are three All-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, plus three specialist spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy, and finally three fast bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The reserves are Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.
By picking five spinners, India’s think tank believes the UAE pitches will get tired after the workload of 31 Indian Premier League matches which take place in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah until October 15 when the final will be played at Dubai Cricket Stadium just before the World Cup begins.
But with five spinners and only three pacers, in my opinion, India have opted for one spinner too many and lack and extra pacer. Chahar who has been MS Dhoni’s go-to man in the IPL as a strike bowler was unlucky to miss out being the in the main squad. Even though he has just played 19 T20 games, he has a good average of just 19.30 with his economy being 7.59, which is acceptable as he mainly bowls all his overs in the power play. Overall he has rich wealth of experience in the IPL and can swing the ball and get early wickets which is very important in the shortest format.
Moreover, wickets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have a history of supporting fast bowlers and the Sharjah has smaller boundaries, so India have taken the risk by compromising on their fast bowling.
The biggest surprise has been the return of Ashwin, who last played an international T20 in 2017 but has been a force in IPL and is very good in the power play and is a threat for left-handers.
My favourite pick has been Chakravarthy as he has six different deliveries and still a mystery to many players. He will be India’s trump card in the World Cup.
India did add an ace by luring MS Dhoni to be their mentor. He will be a great calming boost for the aggressive Kohli and who is very good in assessing a pitch and will help pick the right playing XI.
India have not won a T20 World Cup title since the inaugural edition and all eyes will be on this star-studded team that has a wealth of experience in playing the IPL and are one of the favourites along with England to go all the way.
Will India’s selected players fulfil the dream of 1.3 billion India fans on November 14? We will wait and see, but one thing is for sure this is one squad every cricket fan around the world will want to watch now that it has been finally announced.