Rohit Sharma and his men lost both their games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and even a win against Afghanistan wasn’t enough to see them through to the final clash.
However, this could also be a much-needed eye-opener for Team India as they might have understood quite a few flaws in their execution and even in their team combination.
It has been 15 long years since the Men in Blue lifted the inaugural T20 World Cup. Despite having arguably the best T20 franchise league in the world (IPL), Team India haven’t quite found the formula to break their trophy jinx.
On that note, let’s take a look at three bold decisions that Team India need to make to ensure they have the strongest possible playing XI in the T20 World Cup:
#3 Define Dinesh Karthik’s role
Dinesh Karthik made a fairytale comeback to competitive cricket after an incredible IPL 2022 season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His finishing ability saw him get a call-up to the Indian team after three years.
With a couple of Man of the Match performances against South Africa and West Indies, it looked like ‘DK’ was set to be the designated finisher of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.
However, Karthik played just a solitary delivery in the Asia Cup and was benched for crucial games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in favor of the all-round skills of Deepak Hooda.
The ploy didn’t work as India missed DK’s services dearly. It remains to be seen whether he gets a chance in the playing XI for the T20Is against Australia and South Africa. But it’s high time that the team management makes a concrete decision because he is not someone who can just be left on the bench.
#2 Back Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Arshdeep Singh
One of the glaring issues in India’s defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka was their lack of batting depth as well as their death bowling. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was especially expensive in the 19th over of both games and left just seven runs for young Arshdeep Singh to defend off the last over.
Although the youngster was sensational in both those final overs, he couldn’t take the team over the line. With both Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep not having big-hitting skills, it will be interesting to see who the Men in Blue back once Harshal Patel returns to the team.
Bhuvneshwar has the experience of picking up wickets with the new ball, but Arshdeep has also shown that he can hold his nerve in crunch situations. The team management has a huge decision to make since if they play both the pacers along with Jasprit Bumrah, it might form a long tail.
#1 Decide Rishabh Pant’s future
Quite a few eyebrows were raised when Rishabh Pant was dropped for the opening Asia Cup game against Pakistan. The team management used Ravindra Jadeja as a floater at No. 4 to neutralize the Pakistan spinners and it worked wonders.
However, just when it looked like the team had found a settled combination, Jadeja was ruled out of the Asia Cup and is also likely to miss the T20 World Cup. To negate the spinners, the team management backed Rishabh Pant at No. 4 but the move didn’t work at all.
Scores of 14(12), 17(13) and 20*(16) are certainly not what the management would have expected from the explosive Pant. They also compromised Karthik’s position to fit in the southpaw and it backfired.
So it is high time for the selectors and management to decide whether Pant makes it to the playing XI or even the T20 World Cup squad.