T20 World Cup 2022: The T20 World Cup is less than a month away and the teams are gearing up for the mega event in Australia in October-November 2022. The Indian Cricket team is also preparing for the fabled World Cup as they are playing against Australia and South Africa. The men in blue have also named a squad of 15 players which features a blend of different combinations. One among them is the Indian bowling department.
India has named six pure bowlers with Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel offering both roles- batting and bowling. But what will be one of the biggest tasks for the team will be to play the right bowling combinations Down Under. With Australian pitches offering bounce, fast bowlers will hold a key in troubling the batters. For India, Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel are back in the squad and India now has four pure seamers. However, many teams are bringing nearly five to six fast bowlers.
What's the best choice to go with?
Looking at Australian conditions, it is always good to have more fast bowlers than spinners. Excluding Pandya, India could go with three fast bowlers. However, experts believe that India is already short of a fast bowler in its main squad. Former Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson stated that four quick bowlers are a bit of risk in Australia.
"If you got an all-rounder (fast bowling) and a couple of spinners, four fast bowlers, it is a bit of a risk. But India is probably looking at playing two pacers and an all-rounder (Hardik Pandya) and two spinners.
He added that on certain tracks, teams should play up to four fast bowlers. "In Australia, you surely need to play three fast bowlers, possibly four in certain conditions, for example, Perth. I guess they have a plan going in but it is a bit of a risk if you only take four (pacers)," Johnson added.
Which bowlers can play for India in World Cup?
The men in blue might have set their sights on which bowlers will play the majority of the matches. However, determining the right combination for a particular match will have to be worked upon.
Two fast and two spin options- Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. (In this India will have to look at a sixth bowling option if needed).
Three fast and two spin options- Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal/Axar Patel.
Four fast and one spin- Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin/Yuzvendra Chahal.
However, Playing four seamers would mean India will not have any other pacer left in the main squad and no one will get rest in that match.
Can India go with five bowlers including all-rounders?
Playing five bowlers including all-rounders can be a tricky thing to do. A batsman tries to target the weaker bowler or the one who is not having a great day. Playing three pure seamers along with two spinners might shorten the batting a little bit but as two out of three spinners can bat, things can be balanced. Also, having Hardik Pandya on the team gives plenty of options to try as he is a recognised power hitter and a fine bowler.
But Pandya being the third seamer has been a topic of debate. Recently, Sanjay Manjrekar also stated that Hardik is a great bowler when he is the fourth seamer but is not the third seamer. Similarly, Axar being the fifth bowler if Pandya is not playing can also be tricky.
As the T20 World Cup 2022 is set to begin on October 16, the Indian head coach and captain will have to do some brain work in finding the right combination for the team.