After months of speculation, the Board Of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Monday finally announced that it had decided to shift the T20 World Cup from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The decision comes after the board came to a conclusion that it won’t be possible to conduct the tournament smoothly in India, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With the gala event less than four months away, team India is still pondering on the team selection. On that note, let’s have a look at the five biggest challenges for Team India going into the tournament:
1. Who Opens With Rohit Sharma?
Currently we clearly have three contenders for the opening combination of India in the T20 World Cup. Out of those three, Rohit Sharma is sure to be one of the openers and that leaves us with one position with two players vying for it i.e., Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul.
The mega T20 event organized by ICC is still four months away and before that, there will be plenty of time to look at the performance of these two. While Shikhar Dhawan is in Sri Lanka for ODI and T20I series, KL Rahul is in England and it is yet to be seen if he will get a chance in the upcoming Tests against the Three Lions.
2. Will Virat Kohli Open With Rohit Sharma?
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli opened in India’s last T20I against England and looked good at the top, but after witnessing Virat Kohli’s poor form for Royal Challengers Bangalore at the top, India might look to go back to Dhawan or KL Rahul.
Kohli, after a series win against England himself, cleared that he decided to open in the shortest format to accommodate players like Suryakumar Yadav in the side but there is no “guarantee” of him taking up the role in the T20 World Cup later this year.
3. Who are India’s Spinners?
Ravindra Jadeja is surely the one who has his spot fixed in India’s final XI. Although his recent outings with the ball weren’t up to the mark, the CSK all-rounder makes it to the playing eleven of the team, thanks to him three dimensional skills.
4. Will Hardik Pandya Bowl in ICC T20 World Cup?
Fast-bowling all-rounders are considered to be rare commodities in the game of cricket, especially in the shortest format. We do have such player in our radar but his availability in the showpiece event is under jeopardy. Yes we are talking about Hardik Pandya.
With a shoulder niggle as well during this year’s IPL, Pandya didn’t bowl at all in the seven matches he played for the Mumbai Indians.
The Baroda player is currently with team India in Sri Lanka for the upcoming ODI and T20I series. It would be interesting to see if he bowls there or will prefer playing as a specialist batsman.
However, if we go by his old interview with Times Of India, we can expect him to bowl in T20 World Cup as he has been working on it for a very long.
“For me, I want to make sure, and I will be able to, that I bowl in all the games of the (T20) World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don’t miss that. My full focus is on the World Cup,” Hardik told the ‘TOI Sportcast’.
Hardik was even dropped from the India Test team as his status had changed from an ‘all-rounder’ to ‘pure batsman’. He is now working on his fitness to be able to resume bowling and fully serve Team India at the T20 World Cup.
“Yes, on the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am. Even after my surgery, I didn’t drop my pace. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. Whenever I play, I don’t want to play at 50%. (When) I play, I will play at 100%,” he says.
5. KulCha’s Form Ahead Of T20 World Cup
Well, the days are gone when the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, popularly known as ‘KulCha’ were the automatic picks for team India. Since 2020, they have leaked more than nine runs per over in the T20s.
Also, Virat Kohli once said that the team management is looking for a batting depth in their T20I team. Kuldeep and Chahal are good wrist spinners, however, their batting ability is not up to the mark.
If reports are to be believed, Indian management is looking to glide a spin allrounder into the team instead of playing both Kuldeep and Chahal.
Both Jadeja and Washington Sundar fulfill this criterion as they can bat and hit sixes down the order and if needed, they can chip in with a couple of overs as well.