ASIA CUP 2022: As we head into this year’s Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, India’s biggest selection concern is Who Plays at No. 3 and how to balance playing time between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.
Virat Kohli’s presence in the Indian team was unthinkable
Even a year ago, Virat Kohli’s presence in the Indian team was unthinkable. Kohli is fit and available, but his presence in the playing eleven may be debated for the first time in a decade. The T20 World Cup in the UAE last year was a fiasco due to India’s outdated batting strategy. The runs were slow. The question of whether KL Rahul, Rohit, and Kohli are the optimum No. 1, 2, and 3 in the shortest format was disputed.
Ten months later, the Indian team management is at the same crossroads with another edition beginning in October. If India repeats its top three in the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, one of Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, or Dinesh Karthik would struggle to make the playing XI.
Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja’s all-rounder spots are non-negotiable
Pant has an ‘X-factor,’ Suryakumar is a 360-degree hitter, while Karthik is a designated finisher. Can India afford to remove Kohli or Rahul? This is a big question with no clear answer Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja’s all-rounder spots are non-negotiable, and they need at least four specialist bowlers. That leaves India with only five specialist batsmen, so who to drop? Rahul and Kohli are back in the side to claim their positions, but a huge question is whether their T20I spots are untenable. After last year’s T20 World Cup, Kohli has played only four short-format matches, scoring 17, 52, 1 and 11
Despite Chetan Sharma’s poor form, this was too tiny a sample size to make a decision. The greater question is whether team management would let Kohli build his innings and then accelerate. Across forms, Kohli gets out before getting set despite hitting mouthwatering boundaries. The team’s mindset has evolved, and Rohit has modified his game to fit Powerplay batting in the slam-bang format.
The brilliant Deepak Hooda has struck a hundred as an opener
In 16 T20Is, he scored over 450 runs with a strike rate of 145. In two England series, Rohit has scored at a strike rate of 150 or more with Pant and Suryakumar Yadav as his opening partners. Both appeared comfortable in their new roles, although Suryakumar was better than Pant in the West Indies series.
The brilliant Deepak Hooda has struck a hundred as an opener, albeit against Ireland. Hooda has demonstrated his class at No. 3, but he won’t be a starter in the Asia Cup. His precise off-breaks and consistent fielding will keep him in the discussion, though.
Rahul will open in Asia Cup
KL Rahul looks to have hurried for the Zimbabwe tour, saying he’s fit. If selection committee sources are to be believed, Rahul will open in Asia Cup, but he is apprehensive about coming into the high-stakes game against Pakistan on August 28 without any actual game time.
So, he rushed himself (the medical team stated he is now fit while before it was said his recuperation would take longer) into the Zimbabwe ODI series, where he may bat for a long time to prepare for the eve Despite his spectacular T20 performances, Rahul has always been an accumulator who plays at a certain pace in the first 10 overs and ups the ante in the final 5 overs. He’s a run monster in the IPL and has a 142 international strike rate.
Kapil Dev’s 175 not out in 1983 was beautiful
Overall numbers are good, but the team’s mindset has altered. Rishabh Pant’s T20I strike rate is over 126. If cricket was a game of statistics, Pant would have been slammed for his numbers. But major tournaments are often as much about consistency as that one piece of magic that can turn the table. Kapil Dev’s 175 not out in 1983 was beautiful; Yuvraj Singh’s 369 runs and 15 wickets in 2011 were insane. Pant is required for ‘pure magic,’ therefore eliminating it removes the choice After Suryakumar’s innings in Nottingham, no one can doubt his participation.
He can play the ramp shot, shift his wrists to hit a square driving six or play the ‘pick-up pull shot behind square with precision. This takes us to Dinesh Karthik, who has scarcely stumbled since returning. As Karthik mentioned, he’s playing a high-risk game that looks fantastic when it works but won’t always work. Karthik will have his best days on Australian tracks that move less side to side and have a more even bounce. What does that mean for Kohli and Rahul? It’s not as simple as it seems.