The 2022 ICC T20 World Cup is less than four months away, and the participating nations have already started preparations for the mega event as they are modelling their teams according to the requirements of the format. The excitement for the 16-team tournament is palpable as it will feature some of the powerhouse cricketing nations. Defending champions Australia is the designated hosts of this year’s event that will commence on 16th October.
Australia lifted their maiden T20 World Cup title last year when they defeated neighbours New Zealand in the final of the seventh edition of this glorious tournament. The ICC tournament has a history of astonishing people, as match predictions and prophecies often get thrown out of the window. Six different winners in the seven editions are a testament to the unpredictable nature of this competition.
Although the tournament does not favour reputation and pedigree, we take a look at five possible reasons that make the inaugural-edition champions India as one of the strongest contenders for this year’s event.
The top 3
Barring any surprise pick, India’s top three batters heading into the tournament have to be KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli. The class of Rahul, the elegance of Rohit, and the tenacity of Kohli are a sight to behold. The thing that makes them even more dangerous is their ability to play the long innings even in the shortest format of the game and win matches for the team single-handedly.
The power-hitting arsenal in the middle
While the Indian top-order is quite adept at clearing the boundaries at will, the trio of Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik is specialists in that role. The trio’s ability to give headaches to opposition bowlers is the nexus to India’s batting strength. If any of these batters are given more than a dozen balls at the crease, they are likely to make team in front pay with their pyrotechnics.
The pace battery
Long gone are the days when the Men in Blue went into an ICC event relying heavily on their batters and spinners. The modern Indian team’s spine is their fearsome fast bowling contingent that can blow away the best of batting line-ups. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the front-runners to make the squad, and their ability to frustrate batters not only upfront but also at the death makes them a potent weapon.
Support from Australia pitches
The pitches in Australia are renowned for their pace, bounce, and carry, and that quality makes exquisite timers like Rahul, Rohit, and Kohli even more threatening. The explosive batters down the order will also relish the opportunity to play on these surfaces as they can trust the pace and bounce and can play through the line. But India’s most lethal weaponry is going to be the fast-bowling trio of Bumrah, Shami, and Bhuvneshwar, who will like to exploit the pitches to their maximum.
The transition from coaching the U19 team to the senior team hasn’t been the most pleasant for Rahul Dravid, as he has had to shuffle a lot of players around due to injuries and workload. But, the biggest positive about his nascent coaching stint for the senior team has been his cool and calm demeanour in the dressing room. The former Indian captain backs the younger crop of players even after poor performances and makes them believe in their own abilities. The man who belonged to a golden generation himself might just deliver the elusive trophy to the current generation.