Analysis of Indian Cricket Team squad for World T20 2021

The BCCI announced the squad for the World T20 on 8 September 2021. There were a few surprising changes and omissions in the squad, notably Ravichandran Ashwin drafted back to the T20I squad after a hiatus of 4 years. Batsman like Shikhar Dhawan and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal were left out.

India squad for 2021 World T20 India’s 15-man squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami.

Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.

Let’s analyse how the team looks on paper:

1. In-form openers and right combination

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are the designated first-choice openers for this World T20. Both of them are in excellent form now. Rohit scored a fifty in his last T20I, a 34-ball 64 against England. His vast experience and his record as a T20I batsman in all kinds of conditions will surely help India put up a solid start in Powerplays.

On the other hand, KL Rahul has 3 ducks in his last 5 T20I innings but he performed well during 1st half of IPL 2021 after which he had a surgery. But he roared back to form in his Test comeback against England. His vast experience just like Rohit Sharma’s has will help India in World T20.

Ishan Kishan is a backup opener. The swashbuckling left-handed batsman scored 56 runs on his T20I debut against England earlier this year. His IPL 2020 batting exploits in UAE gave trust to the selectors of him performing well in World T20, which is scheduled in UAE.

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2. In-form but inexperienced middle order

With captain Virat Kohli set to bat in 3rd or 4th position, depending on the situation, there are batsmen such as Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant who have experience in playing IPL, but are relatively inexperienced in T20I’s. But their exceptional form in IPL 2020 and IPL 2021 has earned them the berth for World T20.

Rishabh Pant might be suffering from poor form in the recent Test series against England, but he has got the 2nd half of IPL as a chance to regain form. Suryakumar Yadav meanwhile has struck 2 fifties in 3 T20I innings played to date.

Kohli has been sedate in his approach of making runs while Hardik Pandya is labelled as the designated finisher. Although Hardik’s recent form with the bat is worth concern, he had a productive IPL 2020 in UAE. Ravindra Jadeja had a very productive 1st half of IPL 2021, striking his 2nd IPL fifty (62* off 28 balls). He scored his 1st IPL fifty in IPL 2020.

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3. Comeback man R. Ashwin and rookie spinners Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy book the plane to UAE.

The most surprising yet expected selection from fans was that of Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion. Ashwin is a seasoned bowler in IPL and in IPL 2020, he took 13 wickets in 15 matches. What’s more, is that the control and accuracy that he provides in middle-overs is something which the oppositions will face a hard time tackling. In big matches, he doesn’t leak runs and has been ruthless against left-handed batsmen.

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Rahul Chahar has been exceptional in IPL 2020 as well as in 1st half of IPL 2021. In 1st half of IPL 2021, he took 11 wickets in 7 matches at an economy rate of 7.21 and at a bowling average of 18.36. He was impressive in IPL 2020 also.

Chetan Sharma commented:

“You want a spinner who can deliver with more speed. Recently we have seen Rahul Chahar bowling with speed. Our view was we need a spinner who can find the grip off the surface at a quicker speed and while we had a lot of discussion on Chahal, we eventually went with Rahul Chahar.”

Chief Selector Chetan Sharma on why they picked Rahul Chahar over Yuzvendra Chahal for World T20

Slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ravindra Jadeja and his like-for-like replacement Axar Patel are also drafted. Both of them can bat. Axar Patel has been highly economical on slower pitches in IPL 2020 with an economy rate of just 6.41. Jadeja has also picked some form during the Test series against England and has another chance to fine-tune his skills during the 2nd half of IPL preceding World T20 in the same conditions of UAE.

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Chetan Sharma has touted Varun Chakravarthy as a mystery spinner.

“The world doesn’t know what Varun Chakravarthy is. If we ourselves cannot understand (how to read him) what will the batsman know,” 

Chetan Sharma on Varun Chakravarthy

He had a breakthrough IPL 2020 season in UAE where he took 17 wickets in 13 matches at a bowling average of 20.94 and at an economy rate of 6.84.

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4. Fast Bowling Reserves

Only 3 fast bowlers could make the cut in the final 15-member squad. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made the cut with Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar in reserves. Bumrah will rely on accuracy and Mohammad Shami is in good rhythm ahead of World T20. Although I would have advocated for Deepak Chahar in place of Bhuvneshwar because the former has been in great form. He took 6 wickets in 3 matches played in Sri Lanka across ODI’s and T20I’s.

Hardik Pandya is the fourth seamer in the squad who will bat in the middle order.

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So overall, the squad looks pretty good with reserves as Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. India has a good and well-balanced team that is expected to perform better than any of the previous tournaments the team played.

Featured Image: BCCI | Twitter

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