Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were named in the India squad for the much-anticipated T20 World Cup, beginning next month in Australia. Injuries had ruled both pacers out of the recent Asia Cup and their return will be a huge plus for India, who crashed out of the continental tournament in the ‘Super 4’ phase. While Bumrah spearheads the pace attack, the spin department consists of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin, with Axar Patel coming in as Ravindra Jadeja’s like-for-like replacement.
Chahal, who returned 1/42 in his four overs against Australia on Tuesday, saw a quiet Asia Cup, as he went wicketless against Pakistan and Hong Kong in group-stage games. In two ‘Super 4’ clashes, he recorded 1/43 and 3/34 versus Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels the leg-spinner seems tired but a break before the Australia showpiece will serve him well. “Too many matches. He’s somebody that comes good if you see him, how he made a comeback after being dropped for a while. Come Australia, when he’s had a little bit of break, he’ll be fine,” Manjrekar said on Sports18.
The cricketer-turned-commentator believes the Indian team lacks ‘X-factor’ in the spin unit, which could prove costly in middle overs.
“… I’ve always wanted the X factor in the spin department and that’s the only thing that concerns me about the squad that has been announced for Australia. Axar, Ashwin and Chahal. The three spinners. I don’t see drama happening in the middle overs which you need to win T20 games,” he said.
Former India player and domestic great Wasim Jaffer also expressed his concern, saying India may have to consider not taking Chahal to Australia. He backed young Ravi Bishnoi to get a look-in.
“I have seen that when the conditions are against him, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of variety,” said Jaffer on ESPNCricinfo. “I will be concerned going into that World Cup with Yuzvendra Chahal as my main spinner. I will be looking at Ravi Bishnoi, he gives you something different.”
“Even that one game that he played against Pakistan, I thought he bowled some difficult overs. There is (Ravichandran) Ashwin of course, we know what to expect from him and Chahal. But I will be keen to have a look at Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav. If Chahal is bowling like that, I will be worried,” he added.