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Reputation over performance - India’s T20 World Cup selection chaos

Last updated on 30 Apr 2024 | 03:08 PM
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Reputation over performance - India’s T20 World Cup selection chaos

The biggest news from India’s selection is that there’s no Rinku Singh

We are back. 

After six months of thorough tests for several players, India returned to their tried and tested combination - pairing 35-year-old Virat Kohli alongside 37-year-old Rohit Sharma. But the biggest news of this squad selection chaos is that there is no place for one of the best finishers in world cricket - Rinku Singh. Let’s dive straight in. 

Who are India’s finishers?

Since Rinku Singh’s India debut, no other player from the top ten teams have scored as many runs as him. The left-hander has scored 211 runs in ten innings at the death, with 32 boundaries, the most. 

He has also crushed the opposition bowling unit, with a strike rate of 215.3, averaging 70.33, with a boundary every 3.1 deliveries. In overs 19-20, Rinku has scored 134 runs, striking at 326.8. Not to forget, in his last game, the Uttar Pradesh batter stitched up a sizzling partnership with Rohit Sharma to score 69 off 39, showing all the gears. 

Also Read: Rinku Singh - a one-stop solution for India’s all T20 batting needs

But India haven’t picked him in the squad. That means they don’t have a choice but to be content with the duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. At the death in IPL 2024, Pandya averaged 8.33 and struck at 147.1, while Jadeja also struck at only 145.8. 

Against full tosses, too, Pandya doesn’t have great numbers (Avg 5, SR 125). The same with Jadeja (SR 126.7), scoring 19 off 15. 

Different yardstick for different players

Of course, there is no press conference or information about the squad selection, but even then, what’s the metric for the squad, you may wonder? 

If it is based on IPL form, why did India pick the likes of Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj? If it isn’t anything about the IPL, how did the likes of Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal pip the others in the squad? 

India’s process for a new dawn started after the 2022 shambles in Adelaide. Still, over the last two years, despite backing numerous players such as Ravi Bishnoi and Rinku Singh, they have returned to picking a squad with IPL displays. Since the ousting in Adelaide, Bishnoi had picked up 20 wickets with an economy of 7.8 and SR of 16.5. 

So, really, what’s the yardstick? What’s the point of the process if they return to picking all the big guns (yet again)? 

Jaiswal, Kohli, and Rohit together - is this a possibility?

When India announced the squad with both Kohli and Rohit, the first question was whether they would open the innings. The best of Kohli at the IPL level came when he opened the innings. In the last 24 innings, the right-hander has scored 1139 IPL runs, averaging 59.95 while striking at 143.1.

Not to forget Rohit Sharma, who once again is at his best only at the top of the order. In that case, India will be without one certain left-handed opener - Yashasvi Jaiswal. How can you possibly justify a line-up without someone like Jaiswal? IPL numbers? That’s the best way they can feature Dube. 

If India does have all three together, then forget a place for someone like Shivam Dube. Dube can only feature in the XI if they don’t have the trio together. Or there is one possibility where India can play all four, which would mean that they will have to go with a bowling attack of just two pacers, relying on Pandya and Dube to be the third and fourth pacers.

That’s the biggest question that will now surround the Indian selectors. They have picked Dube in the squad, but can they play him? 

Dube’s batting numbers are such that the more you ignore him, the more the question there will be. 

Bowling woes for Siraj 

If the recent form is anything to go by, then India would be concerned with the form of Mohammed Siraj. Siraj has picked up only two wickets during the first six overs in the IPL 2024 and has conceded runs at 10.1 in the powerplay stage. 

More than that, Siraj has also conceded 11 sixes in the field restriction stage, highlighting his big concern. Not to forget, the Hyderabad pacer only strikes once every 51 balls. It will then force India to bowl more of Jasprit Bumrah in the powerplay phase. 

In the last two years, Siraj hasn’t also bowled too much for India, with just six overs in the powerplay. While the economy is great (5.7), he has only picked up one wicket across six overs. If you forget that, Siraj’s numbers at the death overs (16-20) aren’t too uplifting either. In ten overs at the death, the right-arm pacer averages 85 and has struck once in 60 deliveries.

Pant or Samson, who is the first-choice wicketkeeper?

India’s questions don’t end there either. 

In Rishabh Pant, there is a left-handed batter who has his strength against pace. Meanwhile, Sanju Samson is a right-handed batter who has shown great skills against both pace and spin. But only one of the two can feature in India’s setup. 

Yet again, that depends on what India wants in their XI. Pant could be the solution if they want to fill the gap with an LHB. This year, Pant has amassed 145 runs, averaging 54.6 while striking at 188.28. The left-hander, though, has had his issues with spin, getting out four times with a strike rate of just 117.92. 

On the other hand, Samson has aced everything. Against pace, he strikes at 168.75 and 149.47 against spin. What’s more astonishing is that he has never been dismissed by spin this year and, more interestingly, has a dot-ball percentage of just 18.94, the lowest amongst all Indians (min 30 balls). 

It looks like Samson does it all, and hopefully, the selection drives the argument in that favour.

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