back icon


What if Indian selectors picked a T20 World Cup squad based on just IPL

Last updated on 26 Apr 2024 | 04:25 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
What if Indian selectors picked a T20 World Cup squad based on just IPL

If it actually happened, then there's no chance of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma or Hardik Pandya making it to India's XI

Turn your head around the Indian cricket world, and there’s a chance you’d probably be looking at a squad selected by some or the other experts. The fans bash them in the comments section for not selecting their favourite players and question the entire basis of their cricketing credentials.  

It’s happening with such frequency that it’s getting nauseating. So why not make an XI just on the basis of performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL)? After all, it’s the closest a T20 league gets to being representative of the best cricketers in the world, right? 

Moreover, the Indian selectors have also been rewarding IPL performances with so much enthusiasm that they even select an IPL performer for a Test match. 

Hence, with the current IPL going on and the T20 World Cup to follow right after, it makes sense to have an India XI based on IPL performers. 

To make that, we have looked at performances in the IPL since the last T20 World Cup in 2022 and have considered statistics from IPL 2023 until Match 41 of IPL 2024. 

Openers - Shubman Gill & Yashasvi Jaiswal

Backup - Abhishek Sharma 

This is the toughest spot to decide in the Indian team because there are at least six top contenders for two spots - Virat Kohli, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rohit Sharma, Abhishek Sharma, Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal

Amongst the six, there are two Indian openers who have been just a tier above all the remaining four. 

Gill and Jaiswal strike well against both spin and pace and during the powerplay, but when they bat through the middle overs, they do so at a high strike rate. 

While Gill is striking at 145.11 in the powerplay, Jaiswal hits at 168.47. Even during the 7-15 overs phase, Gill bats at 154.86 and Jaiswal at 144.5, showing that the easing of field restrictions and spinners don’t slow them down. They keep on their merry way. That’s because Gill is averaging 51.5 and striking at 153.27 against spin, while Jaiswal is yet to get out to a spinner.

Rohit’s poor record last year and Gaikwad’s anchor-range strike rate make it hard to select them over the two mentioned above. However, the most notable omission among the opening options in Virat Kohli, who essentially becomes an ODI batter as soon as spin is introduced (SR - 116.7), and can’t capitalise on his quick scoring during the powerplay. 

Abhishek was the third-best opener in almost all metrics, and his power-filled game, along with his left-hand batting, makes him a suitable backup opener. 

Middle order - Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Rinku Singh 

Backup - Riyan Parag, Tilak Varma 

The selections for batters at number three, four, five and six are tricky because a T20 middle-order batter has to be dynamic. One or maybe two of them should ideally have a strong defensive game to anchor in tough phases and then have a strong attacking and hitting game because anchors weigh a batting team down. 

From that angle, Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav pick themselves. First, both have really good numbers against both pace and spin. A strike rate of 148.09 and 158.45 for Samson against pace and spin, along with averages of 29 and 82, are stellar statistics. Suryakumar has even better numbers as he averages 31.93 and strikes at 201.26 against pace, and hardly gets out against spin as he averages 66.5 and strikes at 147.7 against the bowling kind. 

Moreover, along with Gill and Dube, Suryakumar and Samson are the best Indian batters in the 7-15 overs phase since IPL 2023. 

Meanwhile, there’s no way that India can leave out Shivam Dube 2.0. He has the third-lowest dot ball % against pacers since IPL 2023 for an Indian after Gill and Suryakumar, along with having the highest strike rate against spin. 

As far as Rinku Singh is concerned, he’s a finisher par excellence and is the best Indian batter in overs 16-20, as he strikes at 187.6 in the period. 

All rounder - Axar Patel 

Backup - Ravindra Jadeja 

Hardik Pandya’s fall as both a batter and a bowler has been steep enough for him not to be amongst the best Indian all-rounders in the last two IPL. Hence, it makes sense to pick the ones who are doing well, and sadly, the list is short. 

Keeping the team combination in mind, only one amongst Yuzvendra Chahal or Axar Patel can play in the eleven, and Axar’s batting makes him the ideal candidate. Jadeja’s loss of form this season with the bat and ball has ensured that there’s hardly any statistical difference between Axar and him. 

While Jadeja still averages seven runs more per dismissal than Axar, both strike at a similar rate (137.7 for Jadeja vs 137.2 for Axar). However, Axar has a better ball/boundary (5.9) than Jadeja and a higher strike rate against spin (146.27 compared to 126.39). 

Hence, considering the current form and the fact that Jadeja hasn’t helped much whenever he’s been promoted up the order by CSK, Axar pips Jadeja for the all-rounders spot. The fact that Jadeja’s bowling numbers are much poorer in 2024 than Axar further affirms the decision. 

Spinner - Kuldeep Yadav 

Backup - Yuzvendra Chahal 

With Chahal bowling quite well in the 2024 season, it was always going to be neck and neck between Kul-Cha and it's Kuldeep, whose left-arm leg spin has again allowed him to have much better numbers against left-handed batters than Chahal (average and economy 24.2 and 7.5 for Kuldeep as compared to 28.2 and 10.4 for Chahal). 

Even while checking the phase-wise bowling records, Kuldeep has better numbers overall than Chahal, who’s used at both the middle overs and the death by Sanju Samson. In fact, it’s his numbers at the death (15 wickets at 14.5 and an economy of 9.4) that makes him stand out as one of the rarest spinners in the world to do so, and hence, he’s a worthy backup to Kuldeep in the XI.  

Pacers - Jasprit Bumrah, T Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma 

Backup - Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan 

Jasprit Bumrah would be the first name on the team sheet of any T20 team in the world. Hence, he definitely features here. 

However, apart from Jasprit Bumrah (and Mohammed Shami, to an extent), there’s hardly any Indian pacer in the IPL whose numbers are good enough to be an automatic selection. Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, and Arshdeep Singh have been good in phases, but lately, they have been patchy overall. 

In fact, Arshdeep, who was a great prospect in the powerplay with his swing bowling, has the worst economy (9.5) in the powerplay for a pacer since IPL 2023. 

This is where the underrated IPL performers shine. 

T Natarajan has average numbers during the powerplay and middle overs but good numbers at the death. 15 wickets at an average of 20.5 and an economy of 9.6 is very good considering the blood bath that has happened for bowlers. For Indian pacers with at least 10 wickets at the death, he has the second-best economy (9.6) after Sandeep Sharma, and that’s why both have made the side. 

Sandeep has evolved from a powerplay bowler to a death bowler, and this 2024 season, he has shown signs of returning to form in the powerplay as well when he picked up a fifer against Mumbai. 

Together along with Bumrah, he can surely bowl one or two at the start and then bowl the remaining at the death. 

Related Article