Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Axar Patel and Venkatesh Iyer could be India’s potential bowling all-rounders for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia.
Last year, the ICC World T20 event was played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). India, under Virat Kohli, were one of the favourite teams to win the marquee event. However, they lost their opening match of the tournament against arch-rivals Pakistan; this loss also was their first to Pakistan in 13 games (ODIs & T20Is) in World Cups. To add salt to their wounds, the Kiwis too won their encounter against Virat and co quite convincingly.
Despite winning handsomely against Afghanistan, Scotland and Nambia, India didn't qualify for the Super 12 stages of ICC World T20 2021. The stage is set for India under a new T20I captain Rohit Sharma and a new venue Australia. India’s opening encounter is again scheduled against Pakistan on October 23, 2022 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
This year also, India have a team that can win the premier T20 international tournament. They have some quality all-rounders who can effect a difference in the final analysis. The young and dynamic players have gained exposure through the Indian Premier League (IPL) where they have been groomed under some legends in their respective franchise.
Let’s take a look at five players who should be given more chances to be match-ready for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia. India will be playing three T20I bilateral series of three matches each against West Indies, Sri Lanka and England. Also, a five-match T20I series against South Africa is in the pipeline and Asia Cup T20 tournament will also be played before the World Cup.
Axar Patel has done well in the Test matches played at home but he is yet to play the traditional format in overseas conditions. As far as limited overs fixtures go, he has not given decent performances regularly enough in national colours. Patel also plays the IPL and he is a handy batter down the order. He can provide the finishing blows which can help the team end the innings on a good note. Axar Patel is a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja is almost sure to get a nod ahead of Axar in the T20I squad. But if Jadeja gets injured again then Axar Patel can be the man to replace him.
Axar can bowl in the middle overs. He is an attacking bowler who doesn't only contain the run flow but can also pick up wickets when they are needed the most. India might look to strengthen their batting in Australia. If Ravindra Jadeja is unavailable or fails to deliver, Axar can bat at the number at six or seven to give India the finish they need. In the IPL, Axar has shown his capabilities with the bat. Can he repeat that in a tournament like the World T20?
Axar Patel’s T20 International career summary
After failing in his debut ODI series against South Africa, Venkatesh Iyer has been excluded from India’s ODI squad against West Indies but he will look to make a strong comeback in the T20I series against the Caribbean side, which begins on February 16, 2022 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Venkatesh is a good batsman and a handy bowler.
India need a batting all-rounder to bat at number six. Venkatesh needs to play the batting role of Hardik Pandya at that position. The team which played the T20 World Cup last year didn’t have the fifth bowling option because Hardik didn’t bowl a single over. So, in World T20 2022, Venkatesh might replace Hardik. But he still needs to prove that with good performances in IPL 2022 and the upcoming T20I series against West Indies. He can also open the batting in the T20s. He showed that in the second-half of IPL 2021. His performances lifted Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and they stormed into the finals of last year's IPL.
Venkatesh Iyer’s T20I career summary