Injuries, IPL pressure, aging players complicate team selection for T20I World Cup

In their final T20 International before the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, Team India secured a strong finish, overcoming Afghanistan in a thrilling match that extended to a double Super Over in Bengaluru.

In their final T20 International before the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, Team India secured a strong finish, overcoming Afghanistan in a thrilling match that extended to a double Super Over in Bengaluru.

The 3-0 victory against Afghanistan in the T20I series not only showcased India’s prowess but also left the team management with the challenging task of selecting players for the impending tournament.

The ninth edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the US from 1 to 29 June 2024. The last time a T20 World Cup was played in the West Indies in 2012, Team India finished at the bottom of the table losing all three matches in the Super 8 stage.

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However, the team has undergone significant transformation, welcoming a new generation of players known for their explosive batting, as witnessed in the IPL.

While former England captain Kevin Peiterson while speaking to IANS in November 2023 said IPL performances will play a key role in the selection of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, the duo seems to have strengthened their spots after the Afghanistan series.

With the likes of Suryakumar Yadav (ICC T20I Player of the Year for 2023), Hardik Pandya, Rinku Singh and now Shivam Dube also knocking on the doors of the selectors with his recent exploits, the team management has a hard task ahead.

India head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that the Team doesn’t have much time in hand to prepare for the T20I World Cup 2024 and might have to rely on the IPL for the preparation.

“After the last T20I World Cup (2022) we prioritised the ODI World Cup. But we don’t have that many T20I games after that (ODI WC). So, this T20I WC is slightly different in the sense that there is not a lot of time to prepare for that. We have to rely on the cricket that we have and also a little bit on the IPL,” said Dravid in the pre-match press conference in Mohali ahead of the first T20I against Afghanistan earlier this month.

While IPL performances will play a role, there should be some names which should be picked regardless of their IPL exploits. However it is for the selectors to pick and make sure there is a right balance in the squad.

Suryakumar Yadav’s absence until February 2024 is a setback, but the potential return of a fit Hardik Pandya adds strength. If both players recover in time, India could emerge as a formidable force in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Let’s also not forget Rishabh Pant. The star wicket-keeper batter’s comeback in the IPL is on the horizon. As per Delhi Capitals, Pant is making a speedy recovery, raising hopes of his active participation in the upcoming season.

Following a hiatus since a car accident in December 2022, Pant has been working towards his return to the cricket field. He faced multiple injuries, leading to three successful surgeries during his recovery period.

Recently, Pant was spotted honing his cricketing skills at the nets in Bengaluru, marking a significant step forward in his determined comeback efforts.

His form in IPL 2024 would also decide his future, whether he will be able to make it to the national squad (for the T20I World Cup) or not! Will he be able to bat and keep together or not? Or will he be picked just as a batter? Lots of questions, and IPL 2024 is the answer to many of them!

After winning the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, the Men In Blue have faced a tough challenge in the shortest format when it comes to the World Cup. Their closest shot came in 2014, reaching the final but losing to Sri Lanka.

The years passed, and the team, despite having great players, couldn’t make it to the finals in the 2021 and 2022 tournaments. In 2021, they faced a setback, losing to Pakistan for the first time in a World Cup match.

This year’s T20 World Cup is very important as it can also be the last dance for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli and the team will look to finish off things on a high.

(IANS)