With another series win in the pocket, the Indian team is continuing their victory march in the lead up to the T20 World Cup. It seems that Virat Kohli’s men are well prepared for greater challenges. Most of the players have confirmed their seats in the dressing room for the ICC event in Australia. However, now the team management and the skipper will be on the lookout for proper backup options.
In a showpiece event like the World Cup, it is important to have quality back-up options in case of injuries to key players midway through the tournament. Having said that the Indian team will have to make some tough choices as various players can make it to the 15-member squad. Hence, considering the recent form of some players and the team’s most-followed strategies the following players might not find their names in the final list.
Here is the list of 5 Indian cricketers who might not make it to the T20 World Cup squad:
1. Manish Pandey
The Indian cricket fans will always remember the historic U-19 World Cup win of 2008 as it gave two gems to the senior team in the form of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. While both of them have become country’s top-most cricketers a select few have also lost track midway through their journey. Among them, Manish Pandey’s name is on top of the list as he couldn’t transform his initial spark to an eternal flame.
Notably, a touch of inconsistency coupled with his doomed luck has only allowed him to play 50 international games. The number of games doesn’t do justice to his talent as he is the first Indian batsman to score a century in T20s. Besides in the last decade, he is one of the most prolific run-getters in the domestic circuit which is evident from his List-A and first-class record.
Even in the Indian jersey, Pandey has showcased his potential on a couple of occasions. Especially in the T20Is where he averages 41 in 33 games. However, Pandey has mostly been considered a secondary option by the Indian team management and that’s why he might again miss out on his dream of playing a T20 championship for the country. Unfortunately with the presence of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant in the team and the possibility of a surprise return of MS Dhoni to the T20 set-up Pandey is unlikely to find a place in the World Cup squad.
2. Krunal Pandya
It is a well-known fact that cricket has transformed the lives of millions of people in India. Particularly it has fulfilled the dreams of many budding cricketing talents around the country including of the Pandya brothers. Such has been their rise that now every youngster gets inspired from their cricketing story. After all their hardships, both Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya have successfully represented India at the international level.
Though the younger Pandya has tasted more success Krunal has also enjoyed his share of the limelight in the last couple of years. The spin all-rounder has played 18 T20Is for the Blue team. In that, he has picked up 14 wickets at an economy rate of 8.1 which is quite good for a player who mostly gets his chances when regular stars are rested. Besides he also enjoyed the status of lead-spinner in 2019 when Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal suffered a dip in their form.
However, his poor returns in the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh saw him out of the squad. Since then Krunal has not been part of the Indian team’s action plans as Ravindra Jadeja has returned to the fold. So now it will be an uphill task for him to regain his place in the Indian dressing room before the T20 World Cup. Even a good IPL might not earn him a plane ticket to Australia as the team has other wicket-taking options at their disposal.
3. Sanju Samson
It might be extremely difficult for an individual to hide his pain when he doesn’t get the deserved rewards for his hard work. Unfortunately the Kerala cricketer, Sanju Samson is facing a similar fate as he has been waiting since the last 5 years for his second run in the Blue jersey. Even after scoring tons of runs in the domestic circuit the keeper-batsman has not been a regular member of the national squad.
What’s more disappointing is his absence from the playing XI despite being part of the current Indian T20 side. In simple terms, Samson has not been given enough opportunities to prove his mettle in the international circuit which is not fair considering his T20 record. The right-hander has played close to 150 games including 93 IPL ties where he has gathered 2200 runs at an average of 28.
Sanju is a complete player who can play shots all around the park. Moreover, in recent times he has improved his keeping skills to increase his selection chances. Still, the Indian team management has repeatedly preferred the under-performing Rishabh Pant ahead of him. At the moment it is impossible to imagine him boarding the flight to Australia for this year’s T20 World Cup. In addition to that if MS Dhoni returns to the side then his chances of playing the championship will be dashed completely.
4. Washington Sundar
How many teenagers can bowl an impressive spell of 0/13 in a high-pressure game like IPL final? Only a special talent can come up with such a performance and that’s exactly what Washington Sundar is. The Tamil Nadu cricketer is destined for big things and he has already shown the early signs of the things to come. So it will not be a surprise if follows the footsteps of his state teammate, Ravichandran Ashwin and lead the Indian spin department in the future.
Like Ashwin, Sundar is also very efficient with new-ball in his hand. It was also evident in his debut game where he conceded mere 22 runs in his spell even after bowling 3 overs in the powerplay. He is also a capable batsman who can play according to the needs of the team. In all Sundar is a valuable commodity in white-ball cricket and that’s why he has often found a place in the Indian T20 squad.
Till now he has played 20 T20Is in which he has scalped 18 wickets at a stunning economy rate of 6.8. Even though he is not a classical off-spinner he has enough variations in his armoury to deceive the batsmen. However, the youngster is to yet to be tested against quality international sides like Australia, England and New Zealand. That’s why the selectors might not give him the green signal for the T20 World Cup. Besides India has an experienced campaigner like Ravindra Jadeja who is a proven match-winner in global events.
5. Shardul Thakur
In the past, the Indian team might have worshipped all the deities to be in possession of a quality pace attack. Finally, their prayers are answered as now the team has some of the best fast-bowling exponents in the world. Along with Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the country also has other promising stars in the form of Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini.
Especially Thakur who has been around the Indian team in the last couple of years. He has played 18 games across formats. Though he has not produced a career-defining spell he has shown the glimpses of his talent in his short career. Most importantly he is capable of surprising the batsmen with his pace and bounce, quality of good fast-bowler.
Sadly the Mumbaikar will only get limited opportunities as the country has abundant fast-bowling resources. Particularly the emergence of Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar has further reduced his chances to don the Blue jersey on a consistent basis. Apart from that Shardul also has to improve his control over his craft as he is guilty of bowling expensive spells. So in the end, it can be concluded that he will most probably miss the bus to the T20 expedition in Australia.
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