Five Major Concerns For Team India Heading Into The T20 World Cup
Rohit Sharma-led Team India might have won the T20I series against Australia and South Africa on home soil, however, there are some big concerns as the team gears up to take part in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Rohit Sharma-led Team India might have won the T20I series against Australia and South Africa on home soil, however, there are some big concerns as the team gears up to take part in the T20 World Cup in Australia. If the side wants to win the marquee event, all three departments of the game need to work in unison, which has not happened for Rohit Sharma and co off late. Death bowling has emerged as one of the biggest concerns for the side, and with Jasprit Bumrah being ruled out of the tournament, one does not know how the side can fix the problem that is quickly turning out to be their achilles' heel.
There is no like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya in the squad, and if the premier all-rounder gets injured midway during the tournament, the balance of the side will go haywire and the management will be left with a severe headache.
Here are the five biggest concerns for Team India according to us:
1. Jasprit Bumrah's replacement
Team India were given a major jolt on Monday as Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to an injury. No replacement has been named so far. Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar are in the standbys, but both of them have not played the shortest format for that long this year. Chahar might have played the T20I series against South Africa and he showed great form as well but are three games enough? On the other hand, Shami has not played a single T20I for India this year. He was in the squad for the series against Australia and South Africa, but he was eventually ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19. Mohammed Siraj is also someone who can be looked at, but he has a knack of leaking runs at the death.
2. Death bowling
Asia Cup, series against Australia and South Africa saw the Indian bowlers leaking runs at the death. No bowler has been able to stand up and take the control of the game. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, and Arshdeep Singh have all leaked runs at the death and with Bumrah being sidelined, one does not know how the side can find a fix to this problem. The side has failed to deliver yorkers consistently and Harshal Patel's slower ball no longer has a mystery attached to it, and the need of the hour for him is to add some variations in his bowling arsenal.
3. No like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya has emerged as the biggest MVP for Team India in the shortest format of the game. This year, he has time and time again shown that he can win the match for India with both bat and ball in hand. However, one needs to ponder what happens if Hardik gets injured? With the all-rounder consistently bowling in all the games, if he gets injured, the balance of the side will be severely disrupted. He cannot also be given a "cotton-wool" treatment once the tournament starts, so managing his workload is a tricky rope to walk on. There are no like-for-like replacements for him in the squad.
4. The form of Rishabh Pant
Everyone knows the talent Rishabh Pant possesses, but he has not been able to prove his credentials in the shortest format of the game. Pant played the T20I series against South Africa, but he only managed to have a go with the bat in the final T20I, where he scored 27 runs off 14 balls while he came out to open the batting. However, playing as an opener is not possible with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma doing that role. While playing in the middle-order, Pant has not been able to do anything significant this year so his form has to be one of the biggest concerns. As of now, it can be safely assumed that Dinesh Karthik holds the edge over Pant in the shortest format.
5. Lack of wickets for Yuzvendra Chahal
Leg-spinners have traditionally done well Down Under, so Yuzvendra Chahal has to be trusted upon in Australia. With bigger boundaries at play, Chahal can take the risk of flighting the ball and giving it some air. However, his form off late may disappoint Rohit and management. The spinner has not been able to control the run-flow, and along with it, the wickets have not been coming for him consistently. The Asia Cup and series against Australia saw Chahal leaking runs. He did not play a single game against South Africa as Ravichandran Ashwin was preferred ahead of him because of the many left-handers in the Proteas ranks. Chahal would be required to find his mojo ahead of the T20 World Cup.