A few days ago, courtesy Deepak Chahar’s bowling exploits, India clinched the T20I series against Bangladesh after a titanic encounter. The win also marked the Men In Blue’s 3rd consecutive unbeaten rubber in the shortest format, with their last defeat coming against Australia in February 2019.
Moreover, with a World T20 on the horizon, the Indians would be overjoyed with the way a few of their fringe players strengthened their credentials. Shivam Dube, in Hardik Pandya’s absence, gave a good account of himself whereas Deepak might’ve even pencilled down his name as a certainty for next year’s cricketing extravaganza.
However, the series also brought to light a few grey areas with Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan’s form a particular concern. Additionally, the viability of Krunal Pandya as a batting all-rounder came under the scanner; a ploy that culminated with the left-handed batsman being dropped for the final match at Nagpur.
Hence, at this juncture, there are several avenues India could explore in order to arrive at a combination that could propel them to their first World T20 triumph since 2007.
And, through the course of this article, we would chalk out the options India need to look at, at least once, to enhance their T20 machine and iron out the flaws that exist currently.
#3 Sanju Samson
The wicket-keeper has been touted to be India’s batting mainstay for the better part of the past few years. However, Sanju Samson hasn’t been able to find the requisite consistency to endear himself to the selectors. Subsequently, he has always seemed to be in the fray without ever really being in it.
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However, with MS Dhoni’s international future unclear, the wicket-keeper has found himself in the reckoning, more so because Rishabh Pant hasn’t really covered himself in glory.
To Sanju’s credit, he has been popping up with brilliant performances recently, a set of displays that also included a marvellous double hundred in the Vijay Hazare competition.
If the wicket-keeper from Kerala were to be selected, he would provide India with a couple of new dimensions. Firstly, his experience of opening could cast him as a possible alternative to Shikhar Dhawan whereas he could also function at the No.3 spot if Virat Kohli decides to move up the order.
In addition, Sanju could be used as a middle-order dasher, akin to the role Pant has been asked to perform lately. And, to aid the former’s cause, he is perhaps a better gloveman than the latter.
Hence, Samson could be the answer to India’s fervent search of a wicket-keeper capable of doubling up as a reliable batting option.
#2 Mayank Agarwal
Last season, Mayank Agarwal was finally rewarded for his astonishing domestic performances when he was handed his India Test cap in the Boxing Day Test against Australia at Melbourne.
Subsequently, the opener has established himself as a vital cog at the top of the Indian order and has looked well-equipped to handle whatever the bowlers have had to throw at him.
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More recently though, he has taken his game up a notch; a fact emphasised by his stupendous showings against South Africa. Inevitably, several across the Indian cricketing circuit have felt that Mayank is just too good a player to not be involved across all formats.
Thus, the T20 door could open for the opener due to a combination of him coming off age and Dhawan looking shaky in the shortest format.
Though the Delhi left-hander and Rohit Sharma have formed a brilliant partnership at the top of the order in white-ball cricket, the former seems to have lost his touch just a tad in T20 cricket, meaning that the scoring onus has shifted onto the latter quite frequently.
However, that could change with the arrival of Mayank as he could act as the perfect foil for Rohit. Agarwal could take care of the scoring rate early and that would accord Rohit the adequate time to get settled before unfurling the extravagant shots.
Moreover, the Kings XI Punjab batsman is a much better fielder than Shikhar, thereby adding another string to his bow, considering India’s increased emphasis on that part of the game.
Hence, the time seems ripe to provide the Karnataka opener with the platform to showcase his white-ball pedigree.
#1 Suryakumar Yadav
Over the past few years, Suryakumar Yadav has distinguished himself as a T20 cricketer. Blessed with the ability to increase the tempo, the right-hander has often dug his side out of various holes, courtesy his propensity to take charge of an encounter. However, rather surprisingly, he has never been talked about as a potential option for the national team.
Yet, that hasn’t quenched his thirst for runs as he has consistently been performing for the teams he has represented, whether it be the Mumbai Indians, the Mumbai state team or the Deodhar Trophy sides he has been part of.
Moreover, Suryakumar boasts an X-factor that somehow, hasn’t been appreciated at all so far.
Capable of mixing caution and aggression, the middle-order batsman embodies a clutch player who comes up trumps in tight situations. Additionally, his tendency to assess the circumstances and adopt an approach accordingly enables him to perform various roles.
More importantly though, he is one of the few Indian batsman who can pull out innovative and unconventional rabbits out of the hat.
For far too long, India have boasted one-dimensional hitters, meaning that at times, the bowlers have been able to get on top of them. However, with a batsman of the ilk of Suryakumar, they would be forced to think of different tactics courtesy the myriad shots he brings to the fore.
Furthermore, the Indians’ middle order has lacked firepower, an aspect that has been highlighted whenever Rohit or Virat have gotten out early. Thus, Suryakumar could be the cure to that particular ailment.
And, for all one knows, he could ultimately be the missing piece in India’s T20 jigsaw.