The last time India won an ICC tournament was way back in 2013, when Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the Men in Blue to the title at Lord’s beating hosts England in the Champions Trophy final. Since then, India have played three ICC tournament finals, losing all. (More Cricket News)
On October 23, the Rohit Sharma-led India will once again embark on a journey to fill the gap of an ICC trophy on the team’s resume. That is the day India will open their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
India will miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries. Regardless of that, the Rahul Dravid-coached side have enough ammunition, and experience and youth, to be included among the title contenders.
Virat Kohli’s return to form and KL Rahul coming back among runs at the top will be a boost for India. Suryakumar Yadav has been in resplendent touch. On the bowling side, the BCCI is yet to announce Bumrah’s replacement. Indications are that one among Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami might get the nod.
Here’s a look at the possible gamechangers for India at the ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
Making his T20I debut in March 2021, the right-hander, in just over a year, has established himself as one of the feared strikers of the ball in world cricket with a range of shots all around the ground. Coming at no.4 in the star-studded batting line-up, ‘SKY’ reaffirmed his status as India’s best T20I batter in recent times. He surpassed Shikhar Dhawan to become the highest scorer in a single calendar year in the shortest format of the game. In 2022, Yadav has scored 801 runs in 23 games at an impressive strike rate of 184.56, including one century and six fifties. During the period he has hit 68 fours and an astonishing 51 sixes. Yadav has not played on Australian pitches before. But the way he handled the pace and bounce of the Perth track for his 35-ball 52 during the warm-up game against WACA XI, the world No. 2 T20I batter looks on course to dominate opposition bowlers Down Under.
Ever since Hardik Pandya returned from injury earlier this year, the all-rounder has been a better version of himself. More mature than he was a couple of years ago, he is calmer and more responsible. It was evident when he led Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title in their debut season. Pandya’s bowling adds much-needed balance to the Indian team. He also reads the game better now than before. In 2022, Pandya has played 19 T20 games scoring 436 runs at a strike rate of 151.38, and has taken 12 wickets. Like Suryakumar Yadav, Pandya has the capability to destroy any opposition attack on his day – something that was on display during his 30-ball 71 not out against Australia in Mohali last month.
With Ravindra Jadeja missing the T20 World Cup due to a freak injury, the battle will be between Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin to replace India’s premier all-rounder in the playing XI. However, much depends on the playing conditions. If recent performances are considered, Axar has been among wickets more compared to his senior. In the last seven T20Is, he has taken 10 wickets compared to Ashwin’s three in the same number of games.