A look at India's selection conundrums heading into T20 World Cup 2024

In the previous few T20 World Cup editions, the Indian team had made a few faulty selections, leading to shocking losses in the group stage and knockouts.
India selection conundrums T20 World Cup 2024?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4
We look at key selection conundrums and who will be ideal for that role.

India’s squad for the T20 World Cup 2024 has seen some intriguing names. The quality of the players is top-notch, and it will bring some selection headaches for the management. While most of the players are automatic selections, some slots have two players to choose from.

In the previous few editions, the Indian team had made a few faulty selections, leading to shocking losses in the group stage and knockouts. Apart from Rinku Singh’s exclusion, India have done well on the selection front. Now, they will have to make the right calls in the XI taking the field.

We look at some key selection conundrums and who will be ideal for some specific roles.

Sanju Samson or Rishabh Pant?

India have Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant, the two best wicketkeepers in the IPL, for the wicketkeeping slot. Both are quality batters, but India’s requirements might dictate who gets the nod ahead. Samson has batted at No.3 in this IPL, while Rishabh Pant used himself at different positions in the middle order.

For now, India are likely to play Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli in the top order. At No.4, India will use Suryakumar Yadav, who is equally adept against both pace and spin. It leaves India with a slot at No.5, and Rishabh Pant will be better equipped because he has more experience batting at this position.

But in this XI, Shivam Dube won’t find a place, leaving India vulnerable to spin. Samson is a better player of spin than Pant but doesn’t have much experience batting in the middle order. It’s a Catch-22 situation for India.

But if India open with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, it would free up a slot for Samson, who can bat at No.4 or 5. In such a scenario, India will have two spin-hitters, which is necessary because Rohit and Kohli are susceptible to spin. So, they can also accommodate Pant to shield Dube against pace, and Pant’s inclusion will also provide a LHB option in a RHB-heavy top order.

If Rohit and Jaiswal open - Rohit, Jaiswal, Kohli, Suryakumar, and Samson.

If Rohit and Kohli open - Rohit, Kohli, Suryakumar, Pant, and Dube.

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Yashasvi Jaiswal or Shivam Dube?

While both batters play completely different roles, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube can’t play together in an XI, unless India decide to mess up the combinations. If India open with Jaiswal and Rohit and play Kohli at No.3, they will have a terrific player of spin, who will not only take on spin matchups but also provide a LHB splitter at the top.

But in this case, India might be left without a solid LHB in the middle since India will have to play Samson in the middle. If Rohit and Kohli open, India can slot Shivam Dube in the middle. But that would leave the top order weaker against spin and RHB-heavy.

If India try slotting both Jaiswal and Dube in the XI, the latter might have to bat out of position. Dube’s best comes while batting in the middle overs, so slotting him at No.6 might not work. Ideally, Jaiswal should open because in that case, India will have a spin hitter at the top in Jaiswal and one in the middle in Samson.

If Pant plays - Dube should bat in the middle.

If Samson plays - Jaiswal should open with Rohit.

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Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel?

It might look straightforward at the moment, but India will have an arduous task selecting one of Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel. We know the team will likely prefer Ravindra Jadeja, who is bowling the best he has ever bowled in white-ball cricket. But the batting depth might be an issue.

Jadeja’s batting is hardly convincing at this point, especially against spinners. Meanwhile, Axar Patel is currently batting brilliantly, and his game against spin is better than most batters. However, his bowling is not as penetrative as Jadeja’s.

If Jadeja plays, India won’t have as much assurance and depth in the batting order but have more quality in the bowling department. And vice-versa if Axar plays. Hardik Pandya’s recent form has also been a concern, but he bowled well in the second half of the IPL.

So, India can include Axar Patel to solidify batting power in the lower order. But Jadeja’s bowling is too valuable to ignore. Further, Hardik and Axar can’t be banked as bowlers since they often lose their lines and lengths when attacked for a few runs.

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