Credit: X/BCCI

Credit: X/BCCI

Irfan Pathan, Commentator & Cricket Expert with IPL official TV Broadcaster, opined on Star Sports Press Room Show, that Rohit Sharma is currently the best individual to lead the team into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, "As far as captaincy is concerned, he is the best leader you have. We always talk about the players, but leadership is a totally different thing. We saw what happened in this IPL with quite a few captains; it's not easy. Captaining a side in cricket still holds great value and this is why we always talk highly about Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He has been rated highly by the entire world for the reason that it's such a tough job, and he made it very simple.

"And after Mahendra Singh Dhoni, when test matches came, Virat was your best captain ever, the way he took the team in front. So the leadership was there for the world to see how he was making an impact in test cricket. But when it comes to recent white ball cricket, you can't look beyond Rohit Sharma. He is your best leader, even with the bench strength considered. In the future, they will be keeping an eye on Suryakumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah as far as captaincy is concerned. Now we have Hardik Pandya as the Vice Captain, Rishabh Pant is also there in your leadership role group if he gets going because he was there in the leadership role before he got injured. So there are three or four guys who are ready, but Rohit is the number one."

Irfan Pathan, Commentator & Cricket Expert with IPL official TV Broadcaster, opined on Star Sports Press Room Show, about the all-round capabilities and mentality of Shivam Dube being a major factor in his selection in the T20 World Cup squad: "Why Shivam Dube has been selected is that he can give you 1 or 2 overs. He has been regularly bowling in the nets for Chennai Super Kings. The reason he hasn't got an opportunity is because of the Impact Player rule; he hasn't been able to bowl in the game, he hasn't been on the field as well. But he is surely bowling, and when the time comes and the need comes, he can bowl at least 1 or 2 overs for Team India.

"As far as his hitting ability, one match-up that I was really looking forward to in this IPL was against Sunrisers Hyderabad when he was playing against Pat Cummins. I wanted to see what Pat Cummins was actually going to bowl against Shivam Dube. He had a plan to bowl outside the off stump, short deliveries. I knew he was going to bowl that, and I wanted to see how Shivam would counter that as well. Because to counter that kind of planning against Pat Cummins, you might face if the time comes against Australia, and he hit one six on the backfoot against that slow delivery out of the park. And that made me really happy. It made me feel, and I'm sure the selectors thought that as well, that OK, he's doing the same thing that he's doing to other bowlers against a top-quality Australian mindset kind of guy in Pat Cummins. So that made me comfortable that he will perform. Yes, handling pressure at crucial times will be a question mark, but you will hope that he will be able to perform."

Irfan Pathan, Commentator & Cricket Expert with IPL official TV Broadcaster, opined on Star Sports Press Room Show, about the major competition and threats that India will face in the T20 World Cup: "A team like England poses a big threat. A team like Australia might have proper planning as we have seen in the 50-over World Cup. They can pose a threat as well, especially with the squad they have gathered. They have a lot of all-rounders, as far as spinning all-rounders are concerned because the pitches will be slow, there are a lot of spinning options they can have, Zampa, Maxwell can bowl as well. Agar can bowl as well if he comes into the squad. So these two teams and we also might find stiff competition from Pakistan as well. Because when the 50-over World Cup was there, I said there is no competition between India and Pakistan. India is way ahead of Pakistan when it comes to 50-over cricket. But T20 cricket allows Pakistan to be a little closer to us, so these are the teams which I will be keeping an eye on, and of course the home team, West Indies. You know, West Indies in T20 cricket is a team to watch out for."

Mohammad Kaif, Commentator & Cricket Expert with IPL official TV Broadcaster, opined on Star Sports Press Room Show, what his starting eleven will look like keeping in mind the balance of the team, highlighting the role of Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya in the squad: "There was a time when batsmen used to bowl, even as part-time bowlers. But now that trend isn't there anymore. You do get a benefit from it, but I believe that Dube should have a place in that squad, from the first match itself."

Kaif added, "Look, it's going to be Rohit Sharma, Jaiswal, Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, then at six would be Dube followed by Hardik Pandya. Then you have to pick between Jadeja and Axar Patel at eight. Kuldeep will be my first-choice spinner, so he will play at number nine. And then the two fast bowlers should be Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh. Hardik Pandya can give you some overs, so you will have 4 proper bowling options, and then you have the option of bowling Pandya or Dube. If Pandya is bowling well, he will bowl four overs; if he isn't, they will adjust the overs with Dube.

"So I think this will be a very balanced side. Even if you play Dube at 5, and Hardik bats after him, that's good because Dube is in such form, his six-hitting ability even with spin, against Rashid Khan, he hit the first and second balls for six. Rashid Khan is one of the most dangerous bowlers in the world, so if Dube is attacking him also, you can imagine the mindset that this boy possesses. So we should not leave a player like him out of the playing 11. Find a place for him and play him."

(With Inputs From Press Release)