This year too, India are one of the firm favourites and as the World No. 1 ranked T20I side, who have won 23 T20Is from 32 games in 2022, with one no result, the expectations once again are massive.
India failed to reach the knock-out stages in the last edition in the UAE, after losing their first two Super 12 games against Pakistan and New Zealand. This time too, they are opening their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on 23rd October. A lot has changed in the last one year, and India will be looking to avenge the crushing 10-wicket defeat in UAE this time round.
It wasn’t a match day but hundreds of Indian fans turned up to watch #TeamIndia nets today at the MCG. 🇮🇳🥁👏… https://t.co/OLsVZWGjJt
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1666448628000
The core of the Indian team remains the same this time too, with nine of the 15-member squad from 2021 still in the current team.
Here TimesofIndia.com highlights three top strengths of Team India this time:
AGGRESSIVE BATTING APPROACH
Team India faced flak after their 2021 T20 World Cup debacle predominantly for their slow batting in Powerplay overs as well as in the middle overs, putting a lot of pressure on the batters to compensate in the death overs. They have decided to change their tactics and started going all out from the start, and it’s working well for the team.
Image credit: BCCI
Since the 2021 World Cup in UAE, India have scored their runs at an average runs per over (RPO) of 9.32, the highest in the world during the period. Among the top teams, only South Africa (9.06) and England (9.02) have an RPO of more than 9. In fact, India’s archrivals Pakistan have a RPO of just 8.07 during the period. It has resulted in India winning 26 of their 35 T20Is, with one no result, since the last edition of the T20 World Cup.
India will be looking to continue with the same tactic and put their opponents under pressure from the beginning. With an in-form and long batting line-up, India can go out all guns blazing from the start without much concern of losing a wicket or two early in the innings. It has paid good dividends so far and in all probability will do so in the mega event too.
Almost the entire Indian batting line-up are in considerably good form going into the big tournament in Australia. Led by World No. 2 Suryakumar Yadav, all the batters including skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik are in good touch at the moment and have played impactful knocks in the recent past.
Suryakumar Yadav (Image credit: BCCI)
The slight concerns about Rahul and Kohli faded away in the last few months, with the two racking up runs in difficult situations against good bowling sides during Asia Cup and series against Australia and South Africa.
Suryakumar has accumulated 864 runs since the 2021 T20 World Cup with a mind boggling strike rate of 180, hitting one hundred and 7 fifties in 26 innings. While Rohit has scored runs at 145 strike rate during the period, scoring 699 runs with the help of 4 fifties in 26 innings. Kohli has ended his century drought and scored 485 runs in 14 innings at a decent strike rate of 139.36. Hardik has also scored his runs at an impressive strike rate of 151.38. Rahul (SR 128.66) is improving with time, and Karthik can unleash his shots from ball one.
The form and confidence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya give India a big advantage in crunch games. Hardik with his impactful batting has won few games in the recent past and is regularly bowling 3-4 overs in a match. All positive signs for Team India as he gives the line-up a balanced look. In the last one year since the last edition of the T20 World Cup, Hardik has been phenomenal with the bat, scoring 436 runs in 18 innings at a strike rate of 151.38 which included two fifties.
Along with Hardik, the spin allrounders – Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin – also lend the playing XI a wholesome look. Axar, who was drafted into the team as a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja, proved his worth in the recent home series against Australia and South Africa, taking 10 wickets in six games. Both Axar and Ashwin are world class spinners and are very handy with the bat down the order at No. 7 and 8.
Hardik Pandya (Image credit: BCCI)
The Indian squad also has a batting allrounder in Deepak Hooda, who can roll his arms for off-break deliveries when needed.
Though India don’t have the space to accommodate too many all-rounders in their playing XI, they will be hoping whoever is playing that match can deliver. Captain Rohit Sharma has already said that the team is open to changing the playing XI for every game if needed. The presence of impactful all-rounders give India both batting and bowling depth as they can go in with six bowlers in the playing XI without compromising the batting line-up.