Yashasvi Jaiswal a no-brainer despite poor form, Hardik Pandya does not merit place in India's T20 World Cup squad | Crickit

Yashasvi Jaiswal a no-brainer despite poor form, Hardik Pandya does not merit place in India's T20 World Cup squad

Apr 17, 2024 09:21 PM IST

Does there need to be debate around Virat Kohli’s strike rate? Who occupies the crucial number 5 and 6 positions in the line-up?

The BCCI is set to announce India’s 15-man contingent for the 2024 T20 World Cup in America and the Caribbean in the last week of April. While most of the team selects itself, there is still some debate over a few crucial positions in the playing XI. Is Yashasvi Jaiswal India’s preferred choice as opening partner with Rohit Sharma despite his poor form in the season? Does there need to be debate around Virat Kohli’s strike rate? Who occupies the crucial number 5 and 6 positions in the line-up? Do Kul-Cha return as the preferred spin bowling pair? Who should be the first choice wicket-keeper? And last but not the least – who are the fast-bowling reserves to support Jasprit Bumrah?

Mumbai: Mumbai Indians batter Hardik Pandya walks off the field after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians(PTI)
Mumbai: Mumbai Indians batter Hardik Pandya walks off the field after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians(PTI)

Should India persist with Jaiswal?

Jaiswal has been in terrible form this IPL season with just 121 runs in seven innings at an average of 17.3. But even the thought of not including the left-hander in the playing XI at the T20 World Cup would be blasphemy. Jaiswal is a prodigious talent who has had a great start to his international career for India across the three formats. He has an aggregate of 502 runs in 16 T20Is at an average of 33.5 and strike rate of 162. Jaiswal smashed a whopping 625 runs in the last IPL season at a strike rate of 164. The southpaw is an integral part of skipper Rohit Sharma’s aggressive batting template and is crucial in providing India with the rollicking starts at the top of the order. His T20 powerplay strike rate of 150.98 is the highest ever for an Indian batter and amongst the top 10 of all-time (min.1000 runs). Really, a no-brainer!

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Where does this leave Shubman Gill?

Shubman Gill has seen a reversal in his batting fortunes since his move to the Titans in 2022. He had a sensational last season in which he amassed 890 runs at a strike rate of 157 with three hundreds. Gill has been in somewhat indifferent form for India registering just one fifty in his last eight T20I innings but is in good nick for the Titans this IPL season. Gill should be part of the 15-member squad as a reserve opener.

Is Kohli’s Strike Rate a problem?

The simple answer to that question is NO. The Kohli of IPL 2024 is not a problem but the Kohli of IPL 2020-2023 is! Kohli is the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 361 runs at an impressive strike rate of 147.3. His 67-ball slowest IPL hundred may have stirred some controversy but should be largely ignored as noise! Kohli’s strike rate in 2024 is the highest ever it has been for him in a season with the exception of 2016. His scoring rate against spin has shot up to 130 this year after ranging between 100 and 113 in the last four seasons.

Who is the designated wicket-keeper?

This is the toughest choice for the Indian think-tank. No one has scored more runs in the IPL than KL Rahul since 2018. But Rahul has never batted at number 5 for India in T20I cricket and neither is he pushing himself down the order for the Super Giants in the IPL this season. Then there is the problem of which Rahul will turn out for India – the match-winning aggressor or the counter-productive accumulator!

Jitesh Sharma sparkled in the last edition of the IPL while also producing a couple of cameos for India. But he hasn’t done much this season.

Rishabh Pant is back amongst the mix but has never had great numbers for India in the format. The left-hander has an average of 22.4 and strike rate of just 126.4 in T20I cricket.

What about Ishan Kishan? He is striking them big at the top of the order for Mumbai Indians alright. But the problem again for Kishan, like Rahul, is that he is not an enforcer for India in the middle-order in the format and prefers to bat up the order.

That leaves us with Sanju Samson. An enigma who has failed to replicate his success in the IPL at the international level (average of 18.7 and strike rate of 133 in 22 T20I innings), the skipper of the Rajasthan Royal will be the best bet behind the stumps for India at the World Cup. He has been in sublime form this IPL season with an aggregate of 276 at a strike rate of 155! While Samson has batted at number 3 this season, he has the game to play enforcer in the lower middle-order.

The million-dollar question – Dube over Hardik as the fast-bowling all-rounder?

Hardik Pandya is in woeful form with the bat this season for MI. Not even one match-defining performance in six outings, inconsistent and expensive with the ball and questionable tactics as a leader on the field – Hardik seems to have lost that X-factor which defined his all-round prowess between 2017 and 2023. His past record in the IPL and for India may still warrant a place for him in the 15 (if not in the XI) but it would at a high opportunity cost. India needs an explosive batter at number 6 who can also chip in with some overs and Shivam Dube might just be the best bet for the role.

Dube has an aggregate of 242 runs at a strike rate of 163.5 this season in the IPL. His strike rate of 148.5 in all T20 cricket since 2022 is significantly higher than Hardik’s scoring rate in this time-frame of 135.3. Dube is also a giant against spin bowling and could be the playmaker for India in the lower-order on the slower surfaces in the Caribbean.

DK or Rinku as the hitter in the lower-order?

Dinesh Karthik has been brilliant for RCB in the death overs in IPL 2024 hammering 137 runs in just 54 deliveries at a strike rate of 253.7! But Karthik had a poor season with the bat in the IPL in 2023 and hasn’t represented India in the format since 2022.

Rinku Singh has had an exceptional start to his T20I career and has a strike rate of 176.2 in 11 outings for India. He hasn’t got many chances with the bat in this season but was KKR’s highest run-getter in the last edition of the IPL scoring at nearly 150 per hundred deliveries.

Chahal. Kuldeep & Jadeja as the three spinners

A leg spinner who is at the top of his prowess and at the top of wicket-charts in IPL 2024, a left-arm Chinaman who has a bowling strike rate of 17 and economy of 7 in all T20s since 2022 and an experienced slow left-arm orthodox who apart from being restrictive, has rescued India from a crisis many a times with the bat – especially in world tournaments – India’s spin trio is sorted with Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.

Who will support Bumrah in the fast-bowling unit?

India need a gun left-arm pacer who can bowl in the powerplay and death and there is no one better and more experienced than Arshdeep Singh. Some extra pace with the ball might also be handy on the slow and low tracks in the Caribbean and thus a punt on Mayank Yadav would also be a good option.

The big question here is whether India should pick an out of form Mohammed Siraj in the absence of the injured Mohammed Shami. Siraj has been in terrible form with the new ball this season in the IPL and it will be a big gamble to include him in the XI. He has bagged just one wicket in six innings in the powerplay while also getting smashed at 12.3 per over!

India's Ideal 15-man squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup:

1. Rohit Sharma

2. Yashasvi Jaiswal

3. Virat Kohli

4. Suryakumar Yadav

5. Sanju Samson

6. Shivam Dube

7. Ravindra Jadeja

8. Yuzvendra Chahal

9. Kuldeep Yadav

10. Jasprit Bumrah

11. Arshdeep Singh


12. Mayank Yadav

13. Rinku Singh

14. Shubman Gill

15. Tilak Varma

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