Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik be left out?

India Squad T20 WC: Even a year ago it was unimaginable that Virat Kohli’s place in the Indian team could be in question. Kohli is fit and available but perhaps for the first time in a decade, the former India captain’s presence in the playing XI could be a talking point in cricketing circles. Follow T20 World Cup 2022 live updates on InsideSport.IN

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India Squad T20 WC: Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik drop out? KL Rahul’s return from injury creates big middle-order debate for T20 World Cup, check out

Virat Kohli

Last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE was an unmitigated disaster and that was largely due to India’s archaic batting philosophy at the top of the order. The runs scored did not come at a good pace.

There was a debate about whether KL Rahul, Rohit and Kohli were ideal Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the shortest format and the answer from most quarters was not exactly positive. A good 10 months down the line, the Indian team management finds itself at the same juncture with another edition set to begin in October.

If India repeat their top three in the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, one of the other three top T20 performers — Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and Dinesh Karthik — will find it tough to be in the playing XI.

Pant has that ‘X-factor’, Suryakumar a 360 degree hitter and Karthik a designated finisher. Can’t India afford to drop one of the three to slot Kohli or Rahul? This is an important question and so far there is no definitive answer.

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja’s position as all-rounders seems non-negotiable and at least four specialist bowlers are needed in the line-up. This leaves India with only five specialist batting options and hence the big question – who to drop?

India Squad T20 WC: Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik drop out? KL Rahul’s return from injury creates big middle-order debate for T20 World Cup, check out

the number

Rohit Sharma

Rahul and Kohli are back in the team to claim the positions they have owned for years but the big question looming on the horizon is whether their place in the T20I starting XI has become untenable?

After the T20 World Cup last year, Kohli played just four shorter format matches across nine months, scoring 17, 52, 1 and 11 runs. For Chetan Sharma’s selection committee, despite the champion batsman’s indifferent form, it was too small in sample size. to take a specific action.

The big question is whether the team management will allow Kohli to play his game which is to build innings and accelerate after being set. But across the format, Kohli has been getting out before the set even though he keeps hitting those lovely boundaries.

The philosophy of the team has now completely changed and even skipper Rohit has changed his game in advance to suit the needs of powerplay batting in the slam-bang format. He played 16 T20Is in the same phase and scored nearly 450 runs at a strike-rate of 145.

In fact since the England series, Rohit has mostly scored 150 plus strike-rate runs with Pant and Suryakumar Yadav as his opening partners in two different series. Both seemed comfortable in that new position and Suryakumar was better than Pant during the recently concluded West Indies series.

Then there is the prodigiously talented Deepak Hooda, who scored a century as an opener albeit against minnows Ireland. Hooda has shown his class at No. 3 although he won’t be a starter in the Asia Cup now but his solid off-breaks and steady fielding will keep him in the mix.

India Squad T20 WC: Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik drop out? KL Rahul’s return from injury creates big middle-order debate for T20 World Cup, check out

The ‘KL’ conundrum

KL Rahul

KL Rahul seems to have rushed himself for the Zimbabwe tour, declaring that he is available after regaining fitness. If sources close to the selection committee are to be believed, Rahul will open the Asia Cup but he is going into a high-stakes game against Pakistan on August 28 with no fixed playing time.

So, he rushed himself (the medical team announced that he is now fit, although earlier it was said that his recovery would take more time) to the Zimbabwe ODI series, where he can bat for a long time to prepare for the tournament.

But Rahul, despite his impressive T20 numbers, has always been a hoarder, playing at a set pace in the first 10 overs and only going forward in the last five overs. He has been a phenomenal run-machine in the IPL over the years and has an international strike-rate of 142.

The overall numbers look good but the team’s philosophy has now changed.

India Squad T20 WC: Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik drop out? KL Rahul’s return from injury creates big middle-order debate for T20 World Cup, check out

Pants or sky or DK?

India Squad T20 WC

Rishabh Pant’s T20I strike-rate is 126 plus in 54 matches. If cricket were a game of pure statistics, Pant would be under the sledgehammer for incomplete numbers.

But big tournaments are often as much about consistency as it is about that one piece of magic that can turn the tables on a big day. Kapil Dev’s 175 not out in 1983 was magic while Yuvraj Singh’s 369 runs and 15 wickets in 2011 was manic consistency. Both are needed and so dropping the pants means turning off the ‘pure magic’ option.

As for Suryakumar, after the innings in Nottingham where he almost had a miraculous chase, one cannot question his inclusion. He can play ramp shots, change his wrist position at the last minute to hit a square driven six or play a ‘pick-up pull shot’ behind square – all with equal precision.

This brings us to Dinesh Karthik, who has hardly put a foot wrong since returning to the mix. As Karthik himself has said, he is playing a high-stakes game that may look good when closed but there will be days when it doesn’t close. On Australian tracks with less lateral movement and even bounce, Karthik will definitely have his better days.

So where does that leave Kohli and Rahul? The answer is not as simple as it seems.

India Squad T20 WC: Can Virat Kohli or Dinesh Karthik drop out? KL Rahul’s return from injury creates big middle-order debate for T20 World Cup, check out

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