India’s abundant talent is a headache for captain Rohit Sharma to identify who will be his final 15 for the T 20 World cup coming up in Australia in October.
With KL Rahul missing the T20 series due to injury, India went in with pocket dynamo Ishan Kishan, who had two disappointing outings which India won. Similarly, India had to leave out Shreyas Iyer to accommodate Suryakumar Yadav. In the pace bowling department, with both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami not playing, India went back to the experience of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India also left out allrounder Shardul Thakur to give Deepak Chahar the opportunity. In the spin department with both Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi playing, India had to leave out Kuldeep Yadav.
Any captain would be happy that he has so many players at his disposal but how many games can he give to the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Kishan, Chahar, Thakur, Bishnoi to identify them as potential players for the World Cup - which is just seven months away.
Players like Rohit, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and spinner Chahal might walk in to India’s squad but the others need to get enough international games before the World Cup. Yes, all the above players have played many games in the IPL but an international game, that too a World Cup, has its own pressure and players need to get exposed to international games against different opponents to get some time out in the middle. Plus, the unpredictability of the T20 format makes that more complicated for the captain to decide who will be his final players and what roles they would play.
India has time and again messed up at the last moment with their selection - be it ICC World Cup in England in 2019 when they selected three wicketkeepers in the semi-finals in Pant, Rahul and Dinesh Kartik. Similarly, in the last T20 World Cup in the UAE, India’s middle order faced the heat when the top three fell early in the two crucial games against Pakistan and New Zealand.
India played injured Hardik Pandya as an allrounder. It’s time Rohit does not repeat the same mistakes and identifies the players with the roles they have to play and give them enough games before the World Cup instead of just a one-off game in a dead rubber.
It’s better to test the players now and see whether they have the temperament in bi-lateral series rather than straight get them in the World Cup. It’s now or never as India can’t keep getting it wrong every time.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group