Former India skipper Virat Kohli’s inconsistent form over the last couple of years has become a concern for the Indian team ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. According to reports, the Indian management is not sure of the right-handed batter’s place in the squad for the mega-event, which will take in Australia in November this year.
With just a few months left, the Indian team is focusing on finding the perfect combination for the T20 World Cup. However, Virat Kohli’s dismal performance has been a cause of worry for the management. Overall Virat Kohli has a great record in the shortest format of the game. But, this year, his average and strike rate has dropped significantly. In the Indian Premier League 2022 season, Virat Kohli failed to make much of an impact. He averaged 22.73 and played with a strike rate of 115.98.
The ongoing T20I series between India and England can prove to be a deciding series for Virat Kohli. Failure in the upcoming two T20Is could mean the former skipper’s ouster from the Indian T20I squad. In this article, we take a look at three players who can bat at number three if Virat Kohli fails to make it to the T20 World Cup squad.
3 players who can bat at No. 3 if Virat Kohli fails to make it to the squad
#3 Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has evolved into a reliable top-order batter in the T20 format. He has the ability to smack the bowlers all around the park. In his short T20I career so far, Suryakumar Yadav has scored 405 runs at an average of 33.75 at a strike rate of 170.88. The 31-year-old’s presence at number three for India can work wonders as he can bat in different gears as per the situation demands.
The right-hander plays a similar for his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians and has been immensely successful. Even at the International level, Suryakumar Yadav’s record at number three is promising. He plays at a strike rate of 157.14 and averages 35.20, with a couple of fifties to his name. The Mumbai batter could be the perfect number three for India if Virat Kohli fails to make it to the squad.
#2 Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan is another option for India at number three if Virat Kohli is not in the squad. He was the leading run-scorer for India against South Africa in the T20I series at home earlier this year. Ishan also tops the chart for most runs scored by an Indian batter in T20Is so far this year. He averages 32.23, scoring 419 runs at a strike rate of 132.17, including three half-centuries.
The left-hander has mostly played as an opener in the Indian team in T20Is. However, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul likely to be the two openers, Ishan could be used at number three by the Indian team at the T20 World Cup 2022. His inclusion will also provide them with an additional left-handed batter in the playing XI.
#1 Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda has been in terrific form of late for the Indian team in the T20I format. In the absence of senior players against Ireland, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Hooda opened the innings in the first match, as Ruturaj Gaikwad was injured. He scored 47 runs off just 29 balls, to power India to victory. The batting all-rounder followed it up by slamming his maiden T20I century in the second T20I.
The 27-year-old continued his good run in the recently held warm-up match against Derbyshire. Hooda scored 59 runs off 37 balls, including five boundaries and two boundaries. Given his current form and his impressive performance in a small T20I career so far, Deepak Hooda could be India’s number three at the ICC T20 World Cup 2022.