Although India failed to qualify for the semi-finals at last year’s event, they are clearly one of the top contenders for the 2022 T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia in October-November. The new leadership of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid has inspired a strong belief among fans – helped by the fact that India has not lost a single T20I series since the end of last year’s event.
They forcefully brushed aside New Zealand (last year’s finalists), West Indies (both home and away), Sri Lanka, Ireland and away England (another strong contender for the trophy) while going on a 2-2 series with South Africa mostly sharing their second string side.
Under Sharma and Dravid, the mantra in the hitting department was revised: from a conservative to a gung-ho approach. The bowling department was also often dominant and played a big part in these victories.
Who will be India’s pacesetter in the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has secured – or even sealed – a place in the 2022 T20 World Cup squad in India by his consistent performances, knocking out batsmen with the new ball and showing great accuracy at death. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar will again lead India’s pace attack.
This time, however, they will not have Mohammed Shami in their ranks; The Gujarat Titans pacesetter, who has not played a T20I since last year’s T20 World Cup, has been ignored for the Asian Cup squad and that largely means the selection has pulled past him in the shortest format.
The Asian Cup squad announcement gave another big hint that Harshal Patel is also a certain member of the 15-man squad: that his exclusion from the Asian Cup due to injury was mentioned alongside Bumrah. Harshal has excelled in the mid- and death-overs in the last two IPL seasons and has also done well in his short career in India so far.
Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan are the other pacesetters alongside Bhuvneshwar in the Asian Cup as Bumrah and Harshal are absent through injury.
And while the pecking order between those two is uncertain now, given his potency, Arshdeep could be ahead of Avesh, both on power play with the new ball – where he can swing into right-handers – and on death – where he can nail Yorkers and utility variations are now famous; the stage of the game where he conceded in 2022 with an excellent economy of 7.2.
On the other hand, Avesh was really poor in death, although he did well on the power play and mid-overs as an enforcer to hit the lengths. Deepak Chahar, mentioned as a stand-by for the Asian Cup, is only likely to be used as a replacement for Bhuvneshwar. This further strengthens Arshdeep’s case as Bumrah’s death bowling partner. Arshdeep’s left-handedness is a key trait of his selection.
Also, India has selected two spinners for the Asia Cup – R Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi – to support Jadeja and Chahal. The Asia Cup will be held in the UAE, but the T20 World Cup 2022 will be held in Australia. So the selectors and management might even consider getting an extra pacer for either of those two spinners, despite Hardik Pandya proving to be a real pace bowler in recent months.
Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel (if he is fit) are the first-choice pacesetters in India’s squad for the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Arshdeep Singh seems a more likely addition to Avesh and Deepak Chahar, one of whom will be included in the squad based on his performances on the Zimbabwe tour, the Asia Cup and being selected in the home games against South Africa and Australia ahead of the T20 World Cup could be 2022, and also to the fact that India may opt for an additional capper.