Will The Bredon Mccullum And Ben Stokes Partnership Revive English Test Cricket
A year after they won it in the UAE, Australia will be defending the T20 World Cup at home later this year. India had a disappointing tournament last year, crashing out in the group stage itself. India will once again be the pre-tournament favorites going into the World Cup and would like a change in fortunes this time around. The Men in Blue will need every one of its players to perform well to lift the trophy in Australia. With not much international cricket going on, performances in the IPL will act as a barometer for selectors.
With the World Cup just around the corner, we take a look at how some of India's T20 stars are faring in the IPL.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
The form of India's skipper and former skipper will be a huge cause for concern going into the T20 World Cup. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have endured dismal campaigns with the bat in hand. In 12 matches, the Indian captain has scored 218 runs at an average of 18.17. Virat has a pretty similar record with 236 runs at an average of 19.67 in 13 games. India simply cannot have their big guns striking at 125 and 113 at the World Cup as they have in the IPL.
At this stage, Rohit and Virat will be batting at 1 and 3 respectively and India will need their premier batters in good form going into the tournament. They still have time to get back in touch with the T20 series against South Africa, England and the West Indies scheduled before the tour to Australia. From a captaincy point of view as well, Rohit has had a dismal series with Mumbai languishing at the bottom of the points table.
KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya
Now, these are two players currently in very good form as far as the IPL is concerned. Rahul is leading the Lucknow Super Giants, while Hardik is the skipper of the Gujarat Titans. Rahul has continued his fine form in the IPL over the years, with 469 runs at an impressive average of 42.64, and is on course for yet another 600-run season. In this form, Rahul will probably pip Shikhar Dhawan to the opening slot and with Rohit struggling, India will bank on Rahul to provide them good starts.
Hardik Pandya is having a very good season as well, with 351 runs at an average of 35 in 12 matches. The all-rounder has made a bowling return as well this season, which augurs well for the Indian team. Although he has been in and out of the side over the last two years, Hardik should be on the plane to Australia.
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant
Both Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer are having an interesting season. Both have been decent with the bat in hand, although they haven't set the world alight like they would have hoped for. Both have been in the news for the wrong reasons as Iyer revealed that the CEO of KKR was involved in team selection, while Pant was fined for breaching the IPL's code of conduct.
Iyer came into the IPL in tremendous form and although he has scored 351 runs, his batting against the fast bowlers, particularly against the short ball, has been exposed. With the World Cup being held in Australia, that weakness will be further tested. Pant has had an indifferent season too, with 301 runs in 13 games. His strike rate of 157.6 is still very good but he hasn't hit a half-century yet, with a highest score of 44. Pant will take the gloves for India as well, while Iyer will hope to be in the World Cup squad as well.
Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal
Both Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal have had contrasting seasons this season. While Chahal has been a revelation for the Rajasthan Royals, leading the race for the purple cap, Jadeja has had a very disappointing season for the Chennai Super Kings.
Since being appointed as the skipper of CSK with Dhoni stepping down, Jadeja has completely lost his form with both bat and ball. He has scored just 116 runs at a strike rate of 118 and has picked up 5 wickets at an average of 49.6 in 10 games. With other spinners like Kuldeep Yadav having brilliant seasons, this performance might put an end to Jadeja's World Cup hopes. Meanwhile, Chahal has been brilliant for the Rajasthan Royals with 24 wickets at an economy of 7.77. India would want a similar performance from him in the T20 World Cup as well.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami
India's fast bowling department has an embarrassment of riches, with the likes of Harshal Patel, Bhuveneshwar Kumar, and Avesh Khan to choose from apart from regulars like Bumrah and Shami. Bumrah seemed to be having a quiet campaign but has still managed to pick up 12 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 7.26. Bowlers have tended to play him out this season rather than go after him, which meant that he hasn't been able to pick up enough wickets.
Bumrah's bowling partner Shami has had a wonderful campaign so far, especially with the new ball, for the table-topping Gujarat Titans. He has picked up 18 scalps in 13 matches so far at an average of 21. His death bowling has also come a long way as he is conceding 9.55 runs per over at the death, while Bumrah is conceding an incredible 7.43 runs per over.
Picking the 3rd fast bowler might be a problem for the selectors, with many Indian quicks having very good seasons. Harshal Patel has picked up 18 wickets, while Bhuvenshwar Kumar looks like he is back to his best, conceding at 7.25 per over. Avesh Khan and Prasidh Krishna are also in with a shout-out for the 3rd seamer spot and it will be interesting to see who gets the selectors approval.
As always, it has been a mixed campaign for the Indian stars in the IPL, with some players standing out, while others have underperformed.
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