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T20 World Cup 2024: India don’t have too many options in pace department

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Last updated on 19 Jan 2024 | 10:28 AM
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T20 World Cup 2024: India don’t have too many options in pace department

Jasprit Bumrah is a sure starter, but we can't say the same about the others


Jasprit Bumrah

It doesn’t matter if the 30-year-old has played only two T20s since 2023; Bumrah will walk into every T20 XI in the world. He is your all-phase bowler, and India’s bowling attack will revolve around him completely. Bumrah missed the last T20 World Cup in Australia and later didn’t feature in the IPL 2023 due to a back injury. The ace paceman, however, has been phenomenal since, including setting the 2023 ODI World Cup on fire. 

Now, considering the next T20 World Cup is in the West Indies and the USA, don’t be surprised if India travel with only three frontline seamers in their squad. The surfaces in the West Indies are going to be more favourable to the spinners. If Hardik Pandya is fit and available, there’s a high possibility that he could be India’s third seamer in the XI. On top of that, if India can find a way to fit Shivam Dube in the XI, this theory will become a certainty.

So, who will be the other two frontline pacers for India?


Mohammed Siraj

You would need at least two overs of Bumrah for the death. Hence, the other seamer needs to be someone who can take wickets with the new ball, and that’s Siraj’s biggest strength. The 29-year-old has played four T20Is since the last WC, picking up seven wickets @ 11.6 and at an economy rate of 5.8. That’s not a big sample size. So, let’s look at what he did in the last IPL.

Siraj claimed 19 wickets in the last IPL, and 10 of those came in the powerplay, operating at an average of 17.8 and an economy of 5.9. Amongst 34 bowlers who bowled at least 10 overs in the powerplay, Siraj was the only one with an economy of less than 6.8. He also had the second-best average. On his day, Siraj can dismantle any batting unit with the new ball, something we have seen repeatedly. 

The biggest drawback of having him in the XI is he can leak too many runs in the last phase. But again, it’s not like India have too many quality options at their disposal.

Mohammed Shami

What you get from Siraj is what you get from Shami. The two seamers are cut from the same cloth and have identical pros and cons. Just like Siraj, Shami is a menace with a new ball but can be erratic at the end. In IPL 2023, no other bowler picked up more powerplay wickets (17) than Shami. The 33-year-old is a pure wicket-taker, and we witnessed it in the ODI World Cup.

But again, Shami hasn’t played a single T20I since the last T20 WC and is currently recovering from an ankle injury. India had both Shami and Siraj in the ODI WC XI; however, that might not happen in the 20-over format. Ideally, India would want only one of them in the squad, and their selection will largely depend on how they do in the upcoming IPL. 

Arshdeep Singh

The left-arm seamer has played the most number of T20Is for India since the last WC and has all the ingredients to become the second-preferred paceman in the team. He can swing the new ball and can also bowl yorkers at the death, but his numbers have been far from the best. In his last 25 T20Is, Arshdeep has taken 33 wickets but has conceded runs at an economy of 9.1, which goes up to 10.4 in the middle overs and 10.5 in the last phase.

He finished IPL 2022 with an economy of 7.9 in the 16-20 phase and seamlessly replicated the same at the international level, maintaining an economy of 7.2 at the death across his first nine matches. However, Arshdeep has now turned into a run-leaking machine at the death and has the worst economy amongst the aforementioned seamers. His numbers in the first two phases are also not as good as Siraj and Shami’s.

The left-arm angle could work in his favour, but Arshdeep can’t afford to have a poor IPL like he did the last time around. 


Mukesh Kumar

Talking about back-ups, Mukesh has played the second-most number of T20Is amongst all Indian pacers since 2023. Of late, the right-arm seamer has been a regular member of the Indian set-up in all three formats. However, his numbers in white-ball cricket are quite mediocre. Mukesh lacks consistency. He will give you a good over or two but will leak bucketload of runs in the remaining overs.

12 wickets in 14 T20Is at an average of 34.33 and an economy of 9.39 isn’t something to be proud of. Mukesh doesn’t have an economy of less than nine in any of the three phases. In fact, amongst bowlers (top-ten sides) who have bowled at least 30 overs in T20Is since 2023, Mukesh has the worst average. Even in the IPL 2023, he had an average of 46.6 and an economy of 10.5. He had the worst economy in the entire tournament (at least 30 overs). 

It’s difficult to understand why he is part of the T20I set-up in the first place. 

Avesh Khan

As of now, India have only three-four quality pacers in their arsenal when it comes to T20 cricket. Avesh has been around for a while, but the 27-year-old is not someone you can back on, especially in the 20-over format. He only featured in one game against Afghanistan and ended up conceding 55 runs in four overs. In fact, Avesh has an average of 34.2 and an ER of 9.8 in T20Is and IPL games since 2023.

He has not managed to take wickets, nor has he been economical. Again, there’s not too much to look forward to when it comes to Avesh.

Deepak Chahar

This man is an exciting option, only if he remains fit, and that’s a big if. The biggest 'if' there was ever one. Someone who can take wickets with the new ball and is also a capable batter down the order, Chahar is the type of player India need, but we all know his history with injuries. The right-armer missed several games in IPL 2023 but played the entire 2023/24 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Rajasthan.

25 wickets in 13 T20s @ 19.2 and an economy of 8.4 - Chahar has far better numbers than Mukesh and Avesh. His death bowling is an issue, but Chahar offers much more than the other two in this category and also has the ability to build strong innings with the bat. He even played two games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, picking up six wickets against Gujarat and scoring 66* against Arunachal. If he manages to keep himself fit for the entire IPL season, Chahar could find himself on that flight to the USA and the West Indies.

* Umran Malik, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the other seamers who have played T20Is for India since the last WC. However, there’s a high possibility that none of them are going to break into the 2024 T20 WC squad. T Natarajan, Mohsin Khan and Khaleel Ahmed could be the surprise entries, but they will need to have an insane IPL season. 

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