Australia, the current champions of T20I cricket, will host the ICC T20 World Cup from October 16. The finals will be played on November 13, 2022, most likely at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Incidentally, the selection committee received severe criticisms last time around for leaving out a couple of real match-winners. But now, with some familiar names back and a comparatively more experienced team than the previous one, the Indian fans will certainly expect a reason to celebrate under the newly appointed full-time captain Rohit Sharma.
Discussing the ICC T20 WC 2021, India particularly, couldn’t qualify for the semi-finals, losing to Pakistan and New Zealand. Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and England were the four semi-finalists. Australia went on to win the title by beating Pakistan in the semis and New Zealand in the finals.
For India, KL Rahul was the highest run-scorer with 194 runs in five innings, scoring at a rate of 152.75, with the highest score of 69 off 48, against Afghanistan. The Indian opener scored three half-centuries in the tournament. Indian pace gun Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were the highest wicket-takers for the side. They picked up seven wickets in five innings at a reasonable economy of 5.08 and 5.94, respectively.
On that note, let’s discuss the most suitable Indian playing XI for the upcoming ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2022, considering the performances of players in recent times.
India’s predicted playing XI for the ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2022
Openers: Rohit Sharma (C) and KL Rahul
It’s been a long time now since the skipper Rohit Sharma is opening the inning for India. The right-hand batter has scored 3313 runs in 117 innings of T20I cricket. Rohit has scored runs with an impressive strike rate of 139.55, with four hundreds and 26 fifties. Also, the 34-year-old has over 10,000 T20 runs in his account. Although Rohit is having a poor run with Mumbai Indians during IPL 2022, it doesn’t affect his intentions as the Indian opener.
KL Rahul, already at his prime in the IPL 2022, has scored 265 runs in seven innings, at a strike rate of 141.71. Rahul was India’s opener in the ICC T20 WC 2021 and was the highest run-scorer for the side, too. Besides, the 30-year-old has scored 1831 runs in 52 innings, while playing for the national side. Rahul, with his performance, has proved himself undoubtedly the perfect choice for the position.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, and Rishabh Pant (wk)
Virat Kohli at No.3 is not a new combination in the Indian team. The right-hand batter has 3296 T20I runs in 89 innings, at a strike rate of 137.67, including countless match-winning knocks for the national side. Despite his current performances, Kohli has been a supremely consistent performer and is the most reliable player for that position.
Suryakumar Yadav, with significant experience in overall T20 cricket, recently debuted for India in the shortest format. Yadav, at No.4, was also a part of the Indian cricket team during T20 WC 2021 but couldn’t leave a mark. Now, with much-needed experience under his belt, Yadav is expected to do better for India. Besides, he has scored 351 runs in 12 of his T20I innings, at a massive strike rate of 165.56, with four fifties.
Rishabh Pant, the left-hand batter is certainly the first choice for the position of wicket-keeper and No.5 batter. He has scored 683 runs in 37 innings, for India, at a strike rate of 125.78. The 24-year-old is having a decent run with Delhi Capitals in IPL 2022 and will be preferred for the position, considering the experience he possesses.
All-Rounders: Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya
Ravindra Jadeja, the most reliable for the position of No. 6 all-rounder, has scored 326 runs in 29 innings for India. The left-arm all-rounder, has taken 48 wickets in 56 innings, with a much reasonable economy of 7.04. The 33-year-old provides much balance to the team, with being excellent in all three departments, batting, bowling, and especially fielding.
Hardik Pandya, back on the track after injury concerns, has brought much relief with his excellent stint with Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022. The hard hitter of exclusively white-ball cricket has scored 553 runs in 36 innings, with a massive strike rate of 146.29. With the ball, the 28-year-old has taken 42 wickets in 47 innings, at an economy of 8.23. Again, excellent in all three departments, the right-arm all-rounder offers much stability to the team.
Bowlers: Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Jasprit Bumrah
Harshal Patel, the right-arm medium bower, renowned for his peculiar slower deliveries, is having a superior run in the IPL 2022. Patel recently debuted for India and has taken 11 wickets in eight innings, at an economy of 8.51. Patel provides a better bowling option, with his bowling variations and sometimes swift batting cameos.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the veteran Indian pacer has done a remarkable job playing for his national side. Well-known for his skill of swinging a new ball, Kumar has taken 58 wickets in 59 innings, at a reasonable economy of 6.99, for India. The right-arm pacer with occasional batting cameos is having a decent run in the IPL 2022; considering his experience years, Kumar certainly will be there in the playing XI.
Yuzvendra Chahal, the right-arm leggie is certainly set to come back to the team after missing the T20 WC 2021, considering his stellar performances in the IPL 2022. Chahal has taken 68 wickets in 54 innings, at an economy of 8.18. Chahal has had the best of him with the Indian cricket team and is the most reliable contender for the position, glancing at his experience.
Jasprit Bumrah, the great Indian right-arm pace gun, is undoubtedly the most reliable contestant for the position. With 67 wickets in 56 innings for India, Bumrah has conceded 6.50 runs per over, throughout his T20I career. The right-arm fast bowler is certainly a player to watch out for given his decent run in the IPL 2022.
Overall, with consistent batting performances, as the tournament is in Australia, the pacers will have to make a mark, to achieve more. Besides, India will start their T20 World Cup campaign facing Pakistan, on October 23, 2022. After India’s despairing loss against Babar Azam and Co. in the T20 WC 2021, fans can expect a nail-biting contest, between the two sides.
Written by Prachi Pisal