Home > 

India’s T20 World Cup Journey Begins Amid Host of Uncertainties and Key Decisions

It’s a strange build-up to the T20 World Cup where the uncertainties are innumerable ahead of the start of the tournament. This is the first time that 20 teams are taking part in the tournament. For the first time, an ICC event has stretched its limits beyond the traditional places to the United States. A stadium that got completed last month will be hosting eight matches including the marquee India-Pakistan clash. Add to that the fickle nature of the T20 format.

However, one thing which remains consistent is India being favorites before another multi-team event, at least in the eyes of overseas experts and former cricketers. Before every ICC event, India is pitted as favorites, the team that has all the bases covered but somehow, the Men in Blue always stutter at the knockouts hurdle. Since 2014, India has had a final finish in the 2014 T20 World Cup, 2017 Champions Trophy, 2023 World Cup, and a couple of World Test Championship finals. There have been four semi-final finishes in the 2015 and 2019 ODI World Cups and 2016 and 2022 T20 World Cups.

The trophy drought has lasted more than a decade but is it different this time around to suggest that India could go all the way? The Indian team is as different from the last T20 World Cup as it is similar, not just in terms of personnel but approach too. After not playing T20Is for a year, both senior pros Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli returned for the Afghanistan series, which was the final assignment for the Indian team in the format before the IPL and the T20 World Cup.

The return of both Rohit and Kohli meant that India had to revisit their strategy and playing XI which they went with for around 15 months since the last tournament. And with the options they have, getting the right playing XI will be their prerogative in their only warm-up game at the newly built Nassau County stadium in New York. Playing on the surface will give the Men in Blue an idea of how to go about their business with a lot of unknowns still given they play their three Group A games at the venue.

Join Get ₹99!


So what are the factors to be considered with respect to the playing XI? Firstly, Virat Kohli arrived only a day prior to the T20 World Cup. There is still lack of certainty as to whether Kohli will play or not. But the first decision that India needs to make is regarding Kohli only, should he open alongside Rohit Sharma the skipper or come down at No 3 for Yashasvi Jaiswal to hold onto his place?

It will be a tough call leaving out Jaiswal but if the team management does decide on that, it will provide a bit of flexibility in the middle order. Rishabh Pant is likely to start in the line-up as wicketkeeper ahead of Sanju Samson which means, India could go with all three of Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, and Hardik Pandya, besides the keeper and an all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja at No 7.

Now, Kuldeep Yadav takes the second spinner spot. Should India go with the pace trio or play just Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh and Axar Patel as the third spinner? That is the question that the team management would want to find answers to in the warm-up match against Bangladesh before their first game of the tournament against Ireland four days later at the same venue.

The bowling combination will also depend on how the drop-in pitch at the New York stadium plays. If it comes onto the bat nicely, India might actually go with three pacers in addition to both Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube.

India’s squad for the T20 World Cup is a blend of experience and youth, consisting of Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj. The reserves include Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Avesh Khan.

As the Men in Blue gear up to face Bangladesh in their warm-up clash, the game will be crucial in deciding their final playing XI and settling any lingering doubts about team combinations. With the world closely watching, India hopes to finally break the knockouts jinx and go all the way in this expanded and unpredictable edition of the T20 World Cup. All eyes are on the team management and the choices they will make, choices that could define India’s journey in this high-stakes tournament.