With the T20 WC 2021 just days away, the excitement for the mega event among fans and cricketers is building up nicely. The winners of the inaugural edition, India, will be looking to end the trophy drought and claim their second T20 World title.
India's superstar Virat Kohli has already announced that this will be his last tournament as the captain of the T20 side and will be eager to get a trophy in his relatively empty cabinet. In the previous edition of the Cricket World Cup 2016, India's campaign was halted in the semi final by the eventual winners West Indies.
The players from India's world cup squad have been in the UAE for a month playing the Indian T20 League. And so, they are well acclimatized and prepared for the WC. India is clubbed in Group 2 of Super 12s with New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan and two qualifying teams. Here we take a look at five players from the India squad that can potentially play a huge role in winning the World Cup.
India's spearhead in the bowling department is undoubtedly the most valuable player in the Indian cricket team. Jasprit Bumrah has the claim of being the best pace bowler in world cricket at the moment. His excellent control, speed, clever variations and the ability to nail yorkers at will makes him the biggest asset a team can have.
Coming to his actual numbers, Bumrah has picked 230 wickets in 186 T20 matches at an exceptional economy of 7.06 and a wicket every 18.10 balls. He has two four-wicket hauls to his name, with the best of 4/14. His numbers for India are even better, with 59 scalps while conceding at only 6.66 runs per over. Bumrah is one of the best performing bowlers in death overs, where he concedes at only 8.34 rpo in his overall T20 career. The right arm fast bowler has been in superb form, picking 21 wickets in the Indian T20 League season at an economy of 7.45, 15 of those coming in the UAE leg.
The stylish strokeplayer from Karnataka is one of the best T20 batters in world cricket. KL Rahul has a flawless game against pace and can handle spin as well. What it means is that Rahul has a bigger upside than any of the batters in the Indian squad. The chances are high that he will open for India alongside Rohit Sharma and could well be a key player for them.
Rahul has an outstanding record in T20 cricket, where he has amassed 5468 runs in 152 innings at an excellent average of 43 and strike rate of 138. The right hander has smashed four hundreds and 45 half centuries in this format. Rahul has often been criticised for playing slow in the Indian T20 League, but his record for India in international T20s remains elite. The 29yr old has scored 1557 runs in 45 T20I innings at an average of 40 while striking at 142. KL Rahul had a very good season in the Indian T20 League, where he scored 626 runs averaging 63 at a strike rate of 139 on not-so-friendly batting decks.
With Yuzvendra Chahal's stocks falling ahead of the second phase of the Indian T20 League 2021, Varun Chakravarthy emerged as the primary spin option on the Indian side. The 30yr old has a sense of mystery surrounding his bowling and could play in India's hand when they unleash him in the world event. Chakravarthy has impeccable control, clever variations and, on top of that, a high speed - making him an extremely hard spinner to tackle.
The Tamil Nadu spinner has played only three T20I games for India, where he picked two wickets at an economy of 5.30. His overall T20 record has a bigger sample size and is very impressive. Chakravarthy has produced two back to back stellar seasons for the Kolkata franchise, claiming 17 wickets in 13 games in his first full season at an economy of 6.85. He followed that up with 16 scalps in 15 games in the 2021 edition at 6.42 runs per over. On UAE's slow and low surfaces, Chakravarthy's bowling could be a massive factor in India's chances of winning the title.
The Indian all-rounder has had an incredible transformation in his limited overs batting in the last couple of years. Ravindra Jadeja, with his three dimensional game, has made himself a key part of the Indian set-up. With Hardik Pandya not bowling regularly and his overall batting form not looking great, Jadeja will have a huge role to play in the T20 WC.
Since the start of 2020, the left hand batter has smashed 513 runs in T20 cricket at an extraordinary average of 64 while striking at a sublime rate of 161. For a lower middle order batter, these numbers are exceptional and will take a lot of pressure off of Pandya. Jadeja will be crucial in balancing the playing XI with his left arm spin. He has been brilliant for Chennai with the ball, picking 11 wickets at an economy of 6.87, with the best of 3/13. With Jadeja sharing the fifth bowler's responsibility with Pandya, India can field four frontline bowlers, making themselves even more potent.
Suryakumar Yadav, one of the best limited overs batters in Indian cricket, has forced his way into the Indian T20 side. The Mumbai batter is one of the best players of spin, especially leg-spin - an area most right handers struggle in. With India's top three of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul having mediocre numbers in the middle overs, Suryakumar Yadav's presence will be very important.
Suryakumar had an incredible season for Mumbai in the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League, where he scored 480 runs batting at number 3, averaging 40 at a strike rate of 145. He played for India in three T20Is, scoring 139 runs at a magnificent strike rate of 170. Suryakumar had a forgettable season in the Indian T20 League 2021, managing 392 runs at 22 average and 146 strike rate. However, he did return to form in the last league game, scoring 82 off 40 balls and smashed even Rashid Khan in the process. SKY will undoubtedly be a key player in India's hopes of reclaiming the T20 trophy.