After a disappointing T20 World Cup which ended in the Super 12s stages, Indian men’s cricket will embark on a new era with Rohit Sharma as the captain and Rahul Dravid as the head coach. After a gruelling three months spent in bio-bubbles and playing non-stop cricket in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the T20 World Cup, the majority of the senior players, including former T20I skipper Virat Kohli, were rested for the upcoming New Zealand which will begin three after the World Cup final on November 17.
While the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Avesh Khan were rightly rewarded for their IPL performances alongside returning spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, there are still few old and new faces who missed the bus despite performing consistently.
The opener seemed fired up ever since he served his eight-month ban for doping violation last year. He smashed four fifties in his tally of 479 runs in 15 matches for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020 and was sensational in the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament with 827 runs from eight matches early this year. His form continued in the first leg of the IPL scoring 308 runs from eight matches at a strike rate of 166.49. His scoring rate came down in the second half in the UAE as he was able to garner 171 runs from seven innings but has batted at a healthy strike rate of 147.4. However, with Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul having the flexibility to bat at No.3, Shaw will have to go on a run-making spree in order to be picked for a T20I series.
Often overshadowed by the brilliance of KL Rahul at both state level and in the IPL, Mayank Agarwal has been often overlooked for T20Is. Since last year he has scored 400-plus runs in each edition of the IPL and has batted at a strike rate above 140. However, the overabundance of openers in the current squad which includes captain Rohit Sharma and his deputy Rahul alongside Ishan Kishan and Venkatesh Iyer had kept Mayank away from the squad. He is currently back to the domestic circuit with Karnataka where he has scored 83 runs from five matches in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy so far.
After facing constant criticism for his inconsistent performances in the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals skipper silenced his naysayers with an IPL 2021 where he scored 484 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 136.7. He can bat anywhere in the top 5 and has the ability to tune his scoring rate according to the match situation. His form still continues in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy where he has scored 164 runs from four matches at a strike rate of 154.7.
Tripathi was one of the key members of the Kolkata Knight Riders side that turned things around in the second half of the IPL to reach the final. Coming in at No.3, Tripathi blazed his way through the middle overs during the competition which allowed the KKR’s middle and lower order to bat with freedom. The 30-year old is equally adept at playing both spin and pace while also being able to bat anywhere in the top four. He also has the ability to finish games by coming down the order which is something India have been looking for for quite some time.
Bishnoi has all the tricks for a successful leg-spinner. He has a terrific googly, the flipper, the leg-spin which is aided by a quick arm action. Batters’ inability to read him has fetched him 12 wickets each in the two IPL seasons he has played. Even when he is not among wickets, Bishnoi is thrifty with his spells, average 6.6 runs per over from 40 T20s played in his career. With the New Zealand series set to take place in the sub-continent where leggies have become pivotal, Bishnoi’s addition alongside Yuzvendra Chahal could’ve benefited India.
Arshdeep Singh was among the brightest spots in an underwhelming season for Punjab Kings as his performances late in the second leg of the IPL 2021, almost took them to the playoffs. His ability to bowl in tandem with senior pacer Mohammed Shami paid dividends for PBKS during the final stretch as he took his tally to 18 wickets from 12 matches for the season. The left-armer has shown his ability to excel during pressure situations which is quite handy for the senior squad which has rested multiple senior pacers for the New Zealand series.