Although the Asia Cup is followed by a three-match home T20I series against Australia and South Africa respectively in September, it is likely that the team, which plays in the case of all Asian countries, will be the one that will go for the T20 World Cup. ,
Captains Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik are definite in the batting department. With talk of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul coming back into the squad for the Asia Cup, it should round out the batting order.
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja are undoubtedly all-rounders, with Yuzvendra Chahal’s leg spin and Ravichandran Ashwin’s off spin mixed with the pace of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. If Harshal Patel is fit after recovering from a rib injury, then he is sure to be confirmed too.
With the above 13 players fixed, the focus shifts to who can be the players to complete a team of fifteen. In terms of challengers or potential backup options in the batting department, Deepak Hooda and Ishan Kishan have an edge over Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer.
Hooda has made use of every T20 International/ODI opportunity given to him this year, be it opening the batting in the eleventh hour or scoring a century as the number three batsman. Lately, if the all-rounder is called upon to deliver some economical overs, he has also demonstrated his ability to keep things tight with his part-time off-spin.
Kishan, on the other hand, has mixed performances as an opener in T20Is this year. But with the experience of opening the batting and keeping wickets, he can be a back-up opener as well as a keeper in the team. But his selection depends on whether the Indian team wants a backup option in each of the pace and spin bowling.
In terms of fast bowling options, young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh has made a big case for himself with impressive performances in the opportunities he has got, ahead of another youngster in Avesh Khan. With his ability to bowl yorkers in the death overs and shrewdness in changing lengths to improve the batsmen, Arshdeep is definitely in the running.
But with Deepak Chahar returning to the ODI squad for the series against Zimbabwe, it means the fast bowling back-up slot will come down to a toss-up between him and Arshdeep.
Before being sidelined due to injuries, Chahar was India’s best bowling option in the powerplays. With Bhuvneshwar doing well now, Chahar may get a slight edge over Arshdeep due to his batting abilities, especially his willingness to hit sixes.
Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav are the contenders in spin. But with Axar Jadeja and Kuldeep having similar options as well as Bishnoi being a wrist spinner, the selection of either of the three will indicate what the Indian selectors are thinking in terms of back-up options.
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