ICC World T20 2022: Pacers aplenty for India, but who will partner Jasprit Bumrah in death overs?
ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel or Arshdeep Singh, who will partner Jasprit Bumrah in playing XI in T20 World Cup in Australia?
Team India has a major issue to address going into ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia next month and it is in the bowling department, especially with the pace bowlers. India have definitely got a huge talented crop of fast bowlers, probably more than ever in their long history.
The men in blue have benefitted with the influx of pacers due to the Indian Premier League (IPL), but when it comes to international fixtures, the fast bowlers, especially youngsters have found it difficult to continue from their impressive stints. A young pacer like Umran Malik was drafted into the Indian team after winning hearts of many in the IPL, but he was found wanting in his few T20I games for India.
Similarly, Avesh Khan was given a long rope by the team management, but the right arm pacer fared poorly on multiple occasions. So, this has left the management no other option but to bring back veteran Umesh Yadav in place of Mohammed Shami instead of banking upon the youngsters.
There is also the issue of finding a reliable death bowling option to partner Jasprit Bumrah before the World T20. India have long relied on Bumrah in this phase of the game but his absence due to injury in the past few matches, in particular in Asia Cup 2022, handicapped India to a great extent and the team was found wanting in defending totals.
Are India ready for the T20 World Cup down under? The answer is they have more problems than one. For instance, the team is still searching for batting options in the middle order but that is a different topic for a different day to discuss.
So, who will be the likely three fast bowlers whom India will go with in their first league game of World T20 2022 against Pakistan?
Jasprit Bumrah is an obvious choice
Jasprit Bumrah will walk into the Indian team any day and will be an automatic choice when the team faces Pakistan. The pacer is coming off a back injury and will lead the pace attack in this marquee event.
Despite not being a regular feature in the T20I setup for India this year, Bumrah is among the highest wicket-takers for India in this format. He is probably one of the few pacers who can bowl in any phase of the innings and remain successful - be it with the new ball, in middle overs or at the death.
His economy rate of 6.46 is the best when it comes to fast bowlers in T20Is. He is also a genuine wicket taker, having taken 69 wickets in 58 games at an average of under 20. So, Bumrah is certainly the vital cog for India in the bowling department.
Read More: Ind vs Aus, 1st T20I, 2022-23: Green, Wade run down 200+ score; death bowling woes haunt India
Arshdeep Singh - A great talent in the making
India have long searched for a left-arm pacer and the 23-year-old Arshdeep Singh seems a long-term prospect for the team. The youngster after a good run in IPL with Punjab Kings (PBKS) was included in the Indian team.
Arshdeep started off his international career decently and has had to withstand pressure situations more often than not in his short stint thus far. Making his debut on the England tour in July this year, Arshdeep shined in the only game he got there and followed up with a great series in West Indies picking 7 wickets in 5 games.
In Asia Cup 2022, he was given a huge responsibility to be the primary death bowler in the absence of Bumrah and looked under no sort of pressure in any of the games. Though he couldn’t defend 7 runs in two Super Four games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively, he did a decent job given the pressure that was there with the requirement of the opponents being in single digits. Truth be told, Arshdeep showed great character and in the long run that is what matters to do something substantial.
So, it is safe to assume that Arshdeep may be the second pacer after Jasprit Bumrah in the playing XI, more so due to the left-arm option that he brings to the table.
Read More: Asia Cup 2022 an eye opener? Are India prepared for ICC World T20 2022?
Powerplay Punter Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggling in death overs
The wily swing bowler from Meerut may have been the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded Asia Cup, but it was far from being a perfect outing for the pacer. Bhuvneshwar Kumar known to be a reliable bowler in all phases of a T20 game, has recently been far away from his best when it comes to death overs.
In the Super Four games of Asia Cup 2022 with Pakistan and Sri Lanka which India lost, Bhuvi gave away 19 runs and 14 runs, respectively, bowling the penultimate over of both games. Rohit thrusted him with the same responsibility in the first T20I against Australia in the ongoing home series, and the pacer gave away 16 runs, giving Chahal only two more runs to defend.
Bhuvneshwar went for 52 runs in his 4 overs in the game against Australia, the most he has given in T20Is for India. Despite taking 31 wickets in this calendar year from 23 games at an average of 16.87 and an ER of less than 7, Bhuvi may not be an automatic pick for the playing XI at the World Cup.
The biggest obstacle in his selection has to be his indifferent bowling form in death overs, but with Bumrah being back Bhuvneshwar may be given the task to take wickets upfront and may not be tried in the death overs. So, India can go with Bhuvi, Bumrah and Arshdeep with the former bowling most of his overs in powerplays.
Read More: ICC World T20 2022: Bumrah, Harshal return will address death bowling woes; Jadeja out due to injury
Harshal Patel pips Bhuvneshwar/Arshdeep at the post for the third pacer slot?
Like Bumrah, Harshal Patel was also sidelined for a considerable amount of time due to injury. He missed the Asia Cup and didn’t have a great game upon his return playing Australia in Mohali. Harshal went for 49 in 4 overs, and this is the fourth time he has given over 40 runs in his allotted overs in 2022. The economy rate for the pacer this year has been 9.5 and this is a cause of concern for the team heading into the world cup.
But one can’t deny that Harshal Patel is a genuine wicket-taker and when on song, has the best and most deceptive slower one could ever imagine. Also, he is more than useful with the bat coming at number 8 and can strike from ball 1 if required.