Is Team India Ready for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup-2022?


It’s always opined by knowledgeable folks that when a car is kept sitting in the garage for months its maintenance suffers—ranging from battery disorders to even rusting in the body—not to speak of the atrocities heaped upon the inactive object by the rats. This means that all humans of various professions and even lifeless objects need to do what they’re meant to do, on a regular basis. Else, maintenance issues emerge leading to breakdowns of various types and escalation in the expenses. Cricketers are much more prone to such inactivity disorders, because it follows naturally that the more they play the fitter they get. Thanks to the experiments-cum-rest syndrome adopted religiously by the cricket management of India these basic principles have not been followed. As one of the results, the crux of the Indian bowling attack, Jasprit Bumrah who had been on indefinite rest, is out of the ICC Cricket T20 World Cup-2022. Now, the entire Team India management is in a daze, unable to take the final decision on Bumrah’s replacement. Unfortunately, things are getting confounded as quite a few of the main Indian pacers like Mohammad Shami, Deepak Chahar, and Mohammad Siraj etc. did not figure even in the experiments galore of late, but inexplicably figured in the list of reserves.

 

Confirming our worst fears the Team India experiments did not subside even during the three-match India vs. South Africa T20I Series, the last opportunity offered by the ICC to prepare. Of course, someone had to be tried for Bumrah’s back maintenance issues (despite the fact that he was rested again for the last match against Australia.) and particularly for assessing the replacement possibilities. But why on earth should Bhuvneshwar Kumar get rested again? Why on earth should they rest the coming-into-form batsmen, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, for the last encounter against South Africa as if they’d been hopelessly tired playing the well spaced-out five 20-over matches? Why on earth should they even think of Shreyas Iyer who had been abandoned in the most obsessive manner of late despite his selection as a reserve? Why on earth did they not push for a morale-boosting 3-0 victory over a clueless South Africa, instead of restoring the latter’s confidence by fielding a mindlessly self-defeating team? Again in hindsight, the 2-0 Series seal for India cannot be considered fully convincing as in the second encounter South Africa nearly chased out India’s fourth-highest total of 237 runs which underlined India’s consistent bowling woes.

 

We also fail to understand why on earth either the ICC or the BCCI should insist on having a one-day international series against South Africa at this juncture when all teams are on the way to Australia for the World tournament in the shortest format! Well, it seems to be helping the partially retained SA team to have a little more of batting and bowling practice to get a little more confident for the world event; but Team India, primarily the WC-selected Rohit franchise, had overwhelmingly ruled out the ODI Series and the obliging cricket board has fielded the not-forgotten Shikhar Dhawan franchise. Just look at the disarray of choices in the team—all the openers who’ve been abandoned from the experiments find themselves augmenting the batting order while even the ‘partly-experimented-then-abandoned’ bowlers like Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan are back in the team without having any relevance for the World Cup.


So, apart from Bumrah, Jadeja and the lot, how well prepared Team India is for the World Cup? The batting order seems to be in good stead if the batsmen, particularly Rahul, Kohli and Pandya after the layoff, resume immediately from where they left. Selection of both Karthik and Pant in the playing eleven also seems to be a possibility and that is quite healthy. The bowling, however, is in extremely dubious territory. The often dropped-n-rested Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin would be expected to deliver immediately, if selected, as well as Pandya and Shami or Deepak or Siraj depending on the selection. The IPL rookies of Arshdeep and Harshal Patel would also be expected to reproduce some of their excellent spells seen in the recent matches. In the spinning arena Yuzvendra Chahal is always a candidate of glorious unpredictability whereas Axar Patel is indeed a tantalizing prospect as far as India’s bowling attack is concerned. 

 

It’d all depend on how the eleven players finally perform on the field on the crucial days. Chance or sheer luck seems to have a better role to play than the recognized or otherwise capabilities of the players. The good thing is that Team India would still have a few practice matches to get ready when the qualifiers are on from 16th October. As is usual in most of the world cricket tournaments India is going to start the campaign with the opening encounter against the archrivals Pakistan in the former’s favorite ground in Melbourne on October 23, 2022. Millions of Indian fans would expect their team to leave behind the Asia Cup-2022 legacy and fight it out diehard. Anyhow, you do get ready for the world cricket bonanza! 

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