<br>A lot has changed in India’s squad from the last year’s T20 World Cup to the upcoming edition of the tournament in Australia. Rahul Chahar, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja (right knee injury), Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah (back injury) have gone out of the main squad, which played in the UAE.
In place of them, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel and Harshal Patel have been included for the upcoming edition Down Under.
Karthik, along with captain Rohit Sharma, are the lone survivors from the India squad that clinched the inaugural World T20 title in South Africa in 2007.
IANS takes a look at India’s ideal playing eleven for their opening clash against the arch-rivals at the MCG on October 23:
Openers: Rohit Sharma (captain) and K.L. Rahul (vice-captain)
Undoubtedly, Rohit and Rahul will be India’s opening pair against Pakistan. The onus will be on the right-handed duo to get India off to a cracker of a start. Since their early exit from last year’s T20 World Cup, India have adopted a new attacking approach with the bat and with both of Sharma and Rahul in good form, expect them to be a cracking opening pair in the showpiece event.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya
After coming out of a break of a month-and-a-half, Kohli has been in stunning form, especially with the century against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022. Suryakumar, ranked second in the T20I batters’ rankings, has been in the form of his life with the willow.
Pandya has been a pivotal figure in India’s recent success in the shortest format. He has been a dependable figure with the bat and can chip in with vital wickets with the ball as well.
Lower-middle order: Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel
Karthik will be the designated finisher in this Indian batting order, possessing incredible hitting power against fast bowlers in the back end of the innings. He will also be the wicket-keeper, which means there won’t be any place for Rishabh Pant in the playing eleven.
Axar, who is a like-for-like replacement for an injured Ravindra Jadeja, could be used as a floater by the team management. Just like Jadeja, Axar is a left-hander who can be pushed up the order given his ability to strike a few lusty blows.
Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
Bhuvneshwar will spearhead India’s fast bowling attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah. Though he has been off-colour in the death overs, expect him to do a good job in the power-play.
Harshal, who hasn’t been at his usual self since making a comeback from a rib injury, had fetched figures of 2/27 in the second practice match against Western Australia XI, signalling a revival ahead of the tournament.
Chahal picked only two wickets in the recent series against Australia and didn’t play against South Africa. But with Australian conditions favouring wrist-spinners, one can expect Chahal to be back in prime form in the T20 World Cup.
Arshdeep adds variety to the bowling attack, courtesy being a left-arm seamer who can swing the ball both ways and can excel in the death overs. Batters will have to keep an eye for his toe-crushing yorkers.