India expected to play it safe with T20 World Cup 2024 squad selection

Regular names likely to be picked for showpiece event in June

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are likely to form the core of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup. AFP
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The India team management is unlikely to think outside the box when they select the squad for the T20 World Cup, which takes place in June in the Caribbean and US.

After winning the 2007 T20 showpiece, India have since failed to make an impression at subsequent tournaments.

Adding to India's anxiety is the fact they have not won any major trophy for a decade, coming closest during the home ODI World Cup last year where they dominated the entire tournament, only to lose in the final to Australia.

Stung by that loss and the absence of any crown since the 2013 Champions Trophy, India's management are likely to play it safe when selecting the 15-member squad and travelling reserves for the World Cup that starts in a month's time.

Rohit Sharma had already been announced, in a way, as captain for the T20 World Cup by BCCI secretary Jay Shah. Virat Kohli is also expected to be a part of the top order as the team wants a stabilising force on wickets that are expected to be low and slow.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya should make the cut despite being woefully out of form with bat, ball and as leader of Mumbai Indians in the IPL. With no other seam-bowling all-rounder in the fray, mainly due to the impact player rule in the IPL, which promotes specialists over all-rounders, Pandya should find his name on the squad list.

Another player whose selection is fairly certain is returning wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who made a miraculous recovery after a horror car accident in 2022 and has shown acceptable levels of fitness and hitting abilities for Delhi Capitals.

It has emerged that selectors are unlikely to be swayed by recent results in the IPL, which means many players who performed a long time back are set to be preferred over more in-form players.

Therefore, the likes of Sanju Samson, who has been in sizzling form for Rajasthan Royals, could struggle to make it to the playing XI or the squad.

The middle order is the biggest concern for India, with the form of Shivam Dube too good to miss. His hitting ability against spin is likely to secure him a spot in the team. However, other swashbuckling young batsmen such as Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh are not guaranteed picks.

Bowling is also a concern for India with only pacer Jasprit Bumrah and wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav automatic selections. The form of T20 regulars Arshdeep Singh, Mohammad Siraj and Avesh Khan is far from satisfactory, but the selectors are likely to focus on batting.

Ravindra Jadeja has done decently with ball and bat in the IPL, so should be a shoo-in, especially because of the lack of options.

The only untested bowler who could have forced his way into the team was Lucknow Super Giants quick Mayank Yadav, who gave two player-of-the-match performances in his first two matches, before getting injured.

His express pace would have made him a favourite to make it to the playing XI, but an extended period on the sidelines due to an abdomen injury means the team will not take a chance on him just yet.

Updated: April 30, 2024, 1:16 PM