Indian cricket fans received shocking news on Thursday, that of Jasprit Bumrah being out of the T20 world cup team.
Predictably, many commentators on social media have deemed Bumrah’s loss as a fatal one for India’s chances in this world cup.
However, I have a different view.
I believe that the loss of Bumrah might force Rohit and Rahul to double down on their batting riches than trying to balance the team with batters and bowlers.
I have often maintained that successful T20 teams have played nine batters and six bowlers in their XI.
Teams have won T20 games comprising great batting depth combined with ‘bits and pieces’ allrounders. E.g. CSK of 2021 or West Indies of 2016. None of these teams had Bumrah or Shaheen Afridi-class bowlers.
History suggests that T20 teams that have gone into world tournaments banking on a deep bowling attack at the cost of its batting have lost key matches towards the end of the tournament.
We have seen time and again that batters can take down any bowler on the flat wickets in T20. E.g. Shaheen Afridi was hit by Mathew Wade for multiple sixers in the semi-finals of the T20 World cup in 2021.
Even though my last point is debatable, what is beyond doubt is that a team that tried to balance batting and bowling by playing too many specialists have failed to get past the group stage. The best example is the Indian team for the 2021 WC and 2022 Asia Cup.
The bottom line is that teams must double down on their strengths to advance into the knockout stages. If that strength is their batting, then we have a winner.
Considering the above arguments, I will pick the below XI for the T20 World cup (assuming no further injury surprises):
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh
The team that I dread:
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Yuzuvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh.