Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav ignored as Ajit Agarkar dealt 'India's top 3' T20 World Cup headache: 'Better than Gayle' | Crickit
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Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav ignored as Ajit Agarkar dealt 'India's top 3' T20 World Cup headache: 'Better than Gayle'

Apr 23, 2024 08:44 PM IST

Who will India's top 3 be at the T20 WC? A former India all-rounder has made his call, something chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar may want to pay attention to

The deadline to reveal India's squad for the T20 World Cup is May 1 but based on the ongoing IPL 2024, certain names already seem to have picked themselves. Rohit Sharma will of course be captaining the team, while Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah are the other three certainties. Put Kuldeep Yadav in there too; perhaps Mohammed Siraj as well. Which leaves us with nine spots to fill with almost 15 names to pick from.

Will Ajit Agarkar pay attention to Irfan Pathan's 'Gill-less' top three for India? (PTI)
Will Ajit Agarkar pay attention to Irfan Pathan's 'Gill-less' top three for India? (PTI)

To help ease out Ajit Agarkar's conundrum, Irfan Pathan has listed out the top three of India's Playing XI for the T20 World Cup, starting with Rohit, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kohli. Rohit, being the captain makes him an automatic pick, but Jaiswal as his partner sends a strong signal. Following a fine century against Mumbai Indians, Jaiswal has timely roared back to form, pretty much sealing that opening spot. Jaiswal as opener also drops the guillotine on Shubman Gill's chances for Pathan, who was Rohit's opening partner at the 2023 World Cup.

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"Now that World Cup is nearing. My top 3 for team India. Rohit Sharma (in form as well as captain) Yashasvi Jaiswal (been saying that he should be there even before his 100 purely cos he was performing well for team India before the IPL) Virat Kohli. (Shouldn’t be any question regarding his place or strike rate. His strike rate at the T20I is 138 + Better than Chris Gayle+ 51 avg. And his IPL strike rate this season is 150)," Pathan posted on X.

That the former India World Cup winning all-rounder preferred Kohli at No. 3 means that Suryakumar, their best T20 batter, is at No. 4 in Pathan's list. Sure enough, the last time Surya and Kohli were part of the same Playing XI for India in a T20, they batted at 4 and 3 respectively. However, since November of 2022, with Kohli and Rohit away to focus solely on the ODI World Cup at home, Surya had made the No. 3 spot his own, scoring a huge chunk of runs.

Pathan's insights

Having said that, No. 4 is where Suryakumar has achieved most of his success batting for India – 1402 runs from 35 matches at an average of 5.7. However, from No. 3, Suryakumar has scored the last two T20I hundreds of his career – against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui and against South Africa in Johannesburg last December.

Pathan's take on Kohli provides an interesting insight. That Kohli is time and again being blasted for his apparently low strike-rate, is a misconception that Irfan cleared. With 379 runs, Kohli is not only the IPL 2024 Orange Cap holder, but also scored his runs at a strike-rate of 150.

Back to Gill, while Pathan did not entirely rule him out from India's squad for the tournament taking place in West Indies at the USA, he is certain the youngster's selection will only be as a back-up opener, in case something goes wrong with Jaiswal. To be fair, there isn't much to pick between Gill and Jaiswal; in fact, if anything Gill has scored more runs (298) than Jaiswal's (225) from the same number of innings, but that Jaiswal plundered a century against MI is what probably got him the edge in Pathan's picks.

"Shubman Gill will in the squad but won't be part of the Starting XI. He has scored plenty of runs in international cricket and this guy is now playing a different role in the IPL. He is using the Powerplay well, running briskly and hitting sixes. So come what may, you don't want to leave Gill out," mentioned Pathan.

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