The seventh edition of the ICC T20 World Cup kick-started with a double-header at the Oman Academy Cricket Ground on Sunday, October 17. The action has now shifted to Abu Dhabi on Day 2 of the T20 World Cup as Ireland take on Netherlands while Sri Lanka will take on Namibia later today. Meanwhile, Team India will gear up for the 2021 T20 World Cup with their first warm-up match against England on Monday.
In this edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, India will be taking on Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two qualifying teams in the Super 12. As India look to find their best team composition for the tournament in the warmup matches, let’s take a look at India's best possible playing XI for the highly anticipated tournament.
Openers: Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul
The Indian team management has four openers to choose from, with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli all being capable openers. But the strongest opening duo seems to be that of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Rohit looked in good touch in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 but was unable to stretch his innings long. The swashbuckling Indian opener has played numerable match-winning knocks for India in recent years and the vice-captain will be eager to inspire his team to glory in the WC.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul is arguably the best T20 player currently for Team India. Given his impressive form in IPL 2021 for Punjab Kings, the best position for Rahul to bat would be at the top of the order where he can score at a high scoring rate from the start. It is also evident from Rahul's IPL performance that his best batting position is as an opener. Notably, he has scored more than 500 runs in each of the last 4 IPL editions.
Middle-Order: Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant
Skipper Virat Kohli will have great responsibility while batting at no. 3 position. Virat has accumulated an impressive 3159 runs in 84 innings in the T20Is and has an impressive average of over 50. Leading India for the final time in T20Is, everyone will have high hopes from Virat in this mega tournament and Kohli himself would want to finish his T20 captaincy reign with a bang.
Rishabh Pant has cemented his place in the team with his ferocious batting across formats in the last few years. Pant's audacity and unorthodox batting has often brought good results for him and the team. The wicket-keeper batter can change the complexion of the game with his destructive batting and he will be the X-factor for Indian team in this tournament.
While Virat Kohli at 3 and Rishabh Pant at 4 or 5 seem to be an automatic choice, the big question for Team India would be the selection of the third middle-order player as there is tough competition between Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. Even though SKY did not have good IPL season but he returned to form in the last league match, smashing an unbeaten 82 off 40 balls against SRH. Suryakumar is a dependable middle-order batter and his ability to play spin superbly will stand him in good stead against quality spinners like Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja
The duo of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will be tasked with finishing responsibilities and they will also have the responsibility of chipping in with some overs. Jadeja has been a consistent performer for India and Chennai Super Kings in the recent years. The talented all-rounder will be a key player for India and will also be crucial on the field.
Ever since his successful back surgery, Hardik Pandya has struggled with various fitness issues. Although, he did not bowl a single over in the UAE leg of IPL 2021, he is working hard on his bowling and will hope to bowl a few overs in the warm-up games to get back to full speed. If he is not fully fit to bowl in the World Cup, it could be be a major dent to Team India's balance.
Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Varun Chakravarthy
Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead the Indian bowling attack in the mega event in UAE while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami will support him in the pace department. Bumrah is one of the world’s best pacers and his toe-crushing yorkers will be difficult to deal with for the opposition batters. Meanwhile, Shami will also pose a big threat as he has been in good form lately. He will be hoping to make a mark in the mega tournament.
Bhuvneshwar had a disappointing season with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the recently concluded IPL 2021. In the second half of the tournament, the pacer managed to take just three wickets in six games at an average of 54 and an economy rate of 7.04. However, Virat Kohli has backed the senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar to come good at T20 World Cup. Bhuvi's vast experience and his ability to perform under pressure could help the Indian team in crunch situations.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy could play a big role in India's bowling attack in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. The spin-friendly wickets in UAE will make Chakravarthy all the more dangerous as was evident in IPL 2021. Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Chakravarthy spearheaded KKR's spin attack and scalped 18 wickets from 17 games, with an impressive economy of just over 6.5.