Are the Indian selectors backing the wrong players for the T20 World Cup?
While India’s bowling looks much settled in red ball cricket with a very good first choice attack and fantastic bowlers in the back-up, there have been question marks over India’s back-ups in white-ball cricket.
With the T20 World Cup going to take place later this year, we will talk about India’s back-up options only in the shortest format of the game and not in 50-over cricket.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are India’s first choice fast bowling duo in T20Is and Hardik Pandya is India’s first choice all-rounder. However, if they are not fit, who are their back-ups?
By the looks of it, Shardul Thakur is leading the pecking order of the back-up fast bowlers at the moment and Ravindra Jadeja is there as the back-up all-rounder.
Shardul has played eight T20I matches for India in the last 24 months and has taken seven wickets. .
But, out of the seven wickets that Shardul got, four came in a single match. So, he got just three wickets in the remaining seven matches, which means he has struggled to pick wickets on a regular basis.
While analyzing the stats of a bowler in T20 cricket, economy rate is always an important factor. If you are not a frequent wicket-taker, you can still do some sort of a job for the team by drying up the runs.
Shardul has gone at a rate of 8.8 runs per over in T20I cricket since January 1, 2018. This definitely doesn’t tell you that he has been able to dry up the runs either, if he hasn’t taken wickets regularly.
Talking about Jadeja, who is the back-up to Hardik Pandya, the left-hander has played 6 T20Is for India since January 1, 2018 and has scored 47 runs at an average of 23.50 and a strike rate of 114.63.
Pandya, in the T20I matches in the same duration, has batted at a strike rate of 171.42 and has averaged 39.
While Jadeja is a good stroke-player, he is more dominant against spin than fast bowling. But, if he bats at no. 7 as Pandya’s replacement, he is supposed to play the big shots against the fast bowlers because they are the ones who normally bowl at the death.
It doesn’t seem Jadeja has the game to find the boundaries as frequently as Pandya does at the closing stages of the innings for India.
If the trio of Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah and Pandya are fit, Shardul and Jadeja won't get into India's XI, but are they the right players to be kept around the group as the back-up options? If numbers are anything to go by, the answer is no.
Featured Image Credits: The Indian Express