T20 World Cup 2024: Making sense of the Rinku Singh omission

There’s something about Indian selectors and questionable calls in the World Cup squads.
Rinku Singh T20 World Cup 2024?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4
We try to dissect what led them to make the toughest decision, as Ajit Agarkar himself accepted.

There’s something about Indian selectors and questionable calls in the World Cup squads. Every time they announce their team for a mega event, a few inclusions and omissions receive ample traction, mostly in a negative way. Be it Ambati Rayudu’s exclusion in 2019, or Suryakumar Yadav’s addition in the 2023 home World Cup, the choices have always raised questions from critics and fans alike.

The latest entrant on the list is Rinku Singh, who has not been included in the T20 World Cup 2024 main squad. Let’s say it straight - his axing is wrong and unjustifiable. Despite being given the most arduous job, Rinku did everything he could have to get a spot in the 15-man squad.

However, the selectors might have kept ample points in their minds before coming to such a massive conclusion. We try to dissect what led them to make the toughest decision, as Ajit Agarkar himself accepted.

While compiling a T20 squad, several aspects are to be covered, and ideal players for those roles are slotted in the team. For Rinku, it’s about pace-hitting in the death overs, and no one is better than him in the Indian circuit. However, it’s about other players and their expertise.

With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in, there is hardly any place for both LHBs - Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube. Unfortunately, India can only play one of them in their XI, and if they decide to go with both, India will have fewer quality bowling options. If Rohit and Jaiswal open, followed by Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav - Shivam Dube doesn’t find a spot. A wicketkeeper is a must, followed by a batting all-rounder in Hardik Pandya.

At No.7, India might prefer Ravindra Jadeja over Axar Patel, and the remaining four spots will be taken by all three seamers and one of the two wrist-spinners. Being an LHB and wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant might get the nod ahead of Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube. Where would they fit Rinku Singh, then?

Also Read: Has Rishabh Pant finally cracked the T20 code?

If we create a scenario where Rohit and Virat open and India select Rinku and Dube in the squad. Even then Dube might start ahead of Rinku because of his superior expertise against spinners. Rohit and Virat are vulnerable to spin, while Hardik and Jadeja have also looked listless against slow bowlers lately. Even Rishabh Pant has struggled to get going against spinners, and his dismissals have been more to spin.

To counter any type of spin, Dube is a better option than Rinku and has more experience batting in the middle order and nailing it day in and day out for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Further, Dube is a better player of pace than Rinku of spin. Dube’s range has improved significantly, for he is no longer a sitting duck against shorter-length deliveries.

Smart teams have started using spinners in the death overs. If Rinku plays, teams can line up tweakers at the back end of the innings against Hardik, Rinku, and Jadeja. The problems will only increase if the pitches are slow and sluggish.

No top and middle-order batter rolls his arm, and Hardik has also been expensive with the ball in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In Dube, India get another bowling option and a more all-round package than Rinku. It’s not that Rinku can’t bat in the middle order, but as visible during his outings with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), he is still a work in progress when it comes to constructing a longer innings.

With Rishabh Pant fully fit, India have an LHB pace-hitter and a wicketkeeper, tempting the selectors to pick Dube over Rinku. Axar Patel can be a floater and promoted to counter spin, but Ravindra Jadeja is at his best as a white-ball bowler and has to play ahead of Axar. While Axar offers more batting value, Jadeja is too good to ignore at the moment.

The conditions have a role to play as well. Rohit Sharma wanted four spinners in the side, which suggests India expect the tracks to be on the slower side, increasing the value of Shivam Dube as a batter and bowler. It also paved the way for Yuzvendra Chahal over Rinku Singh in the main squad.

Had the tracks been like the previous T20 World Cup, the selectors could have reduced the bowling depth to add some firepower. But, on slower tracks, Rinku, a pace-hitter, can not play as a specialist. The bowling options India have can, at best, rotate strike; their boundary-hitting ability is nowhere close to generating any confidence, so India have to go for more spin-hitters in the middle.

Another argument for playing Shivam Dube as an all-rounder over Hardik Pandya, who has been a pale shadow of himself this IPL season, has gained pace. But what Hardik offers is invaluable, and Dube has hardly bowled for CSK. India can’t afford Dube as the sixth bowling option to accommodate Rinku in the XI. Hardik is always a better bowler than Dube on any kind of track and also offers flexibility with his batting positions, even if he is not in as great shape.

The lack of enough batting opportunities and failures in IPL 2024 have also gone against Rinku Singh. He averages a mere 18.85 while striking at 146.66 in nine outings. There were a couple of instances where Rinku had the opportunity to show his ability to bat deep, but he failed to grab them.

The selectors might not admit it, but IPL performances certainly matter, especially when the Indian team don’t have fixtures lined up before the mega event. When Axar Patel was promoted and played a match-winning innings against Gujarat Titans (GT), he sealed his spot, particularly when Ravindra Jadeja failed in the same role several times. India had to pick one between Shivam Dube and Rinku Singh, and they went ahead with the former because Dube built on his previous IPL campaign, while Rinku remained underwhelming.

All these do not justify Rinku Singh’s omission. We just try to find the thought process behind such an extreme step. Rinku has all the reasons in the world to feel hard done by.

For more updates, follow CricXtasy on FacebookInstagramTwitterTelegram and YouTube.