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India’s bowling resources for T20 World Cup 2024: A gamble or blunder?

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024: Do India have a strong bowling attack with three pacers and four proper spinners in the squad?

T20 World Cup 2024: Do India's bowling attack look fragile?| Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
T20 World Cup 2024: India carrying only three pacers in the squad (Images: ©X/Twitter)

There was uproar when Rinku Singh was left out of India’s 2024 World T20 squad. Shivam Dube was chosen for his all-round skills ahead of Rinku, who had performed exceedingly well as a finisher in the limited T20Is he played for India leading to the T20 World Cup 2024. Dube was chosen for his performance in IPL 2024 even though he hardly bowled in the tournament as his services as a medium-pacer was not required by his franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK). 

However, Rinku’s omission is not the only concern. Besides, lacking a genuine finisher in Rinku, India may struggle to put up a decent bowling combination during the tournament. There are a few strong reasons why India’s performance in the World T20 may be hampered due to the lack of variety in the bowling attack.


India have just three front-line pacers

India have chosen to go with just three front-line pacers to counter the conditions in the West Indies and the United States of America. West Indies’ pitches may offer help to spinners, but still a good well-rounded pace unit is a must in a premier tournament such as the World T20. 

Jasprit Bumrah has been in good form in IPL 2024, emerging one of the highest wicket-takers in the tournament. Mohammed Siraj has finally found his rhythm in the business end of the tournament. Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh provides variety to the pace bowling unit, but has not hit top form in IPL 2024. If either of these bowlers have an off day or suffer from a slump in form or an injury, India will struggle to put two decent new-ball pacers in the XI. 

Hence, India have opted for Dube in place of Rinku to boost their pace bowling options. But Dube has been hardly tested as a bowler in IPL. He also lacks game time as a bowler ahead of the World T20. Hardik Pandya’s bowling had improved in the later stages of IPL 2024, and he picked up 11 wickets overall but at an appalling average of 35.18. He could be inconsistent and leak runs. 

Compared to other teams such as Australia and New Zealand, that have added more pace options to counter the conditions, India have probably made a blunder by just picking three front-line pacers. For the record, Australia have chosen four quality pacers in Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Ellis. New Zealand have opted for four pacers in Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, and Matt Henry.  Hence, India’s pace bowling options or the lack of it, may hamper India in the World T20.

England vs India, 2nd ODI, 2022, Top Performances_ Yuzvendra Chahal takes 4-47 in Lord's ODI for India in 1st innings _ Walking Wicket (Source ©X/Twitter)
Yuzvendra Chahal last played for India in Aug 2023 (Photo: ©X/Twitter)
Chahal could just be a passenger during the tournament

Captain Rohit Sharma said he had his reasons to choose an extra spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal as West Indies’ pitches and conditions might favour spin. But India are likely to go with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja as their main spin options. If India need a third spin option, they will choose Axar Patel whose skills with the bat will add batting depth to the XI.


Hence, Chahal is unlikely to get a single game unless Kuldeep is injured or it is an inconsequential match. Instead of Chahal, India could have opted for another pacer in Avesh Khan whose death-over bowling in IPL 2024 was impressive.

One-dimensional spin attack

Even if Rohit went by his instinct of choosing an extra spinner to make the best use of the spin-friendly conditions in the West Indies, it could have made more sense to add variety by opting for an off-spinner. Chahal is a like-for-like replacement for Kuldeep, while Axar to Jadeja. An off-spinner in Washington Sundar could have been handy if India felt the need for three spinners in the XI. 

Sundar has done well in the past in T20Is. He can bowl in the powerplay and take wickets. He can also bowl in the middle-overs to contain the runs and also at the death. Besides, his batting is a plus-point. His fielding is also above average. It seems India probably missed a trick or two while choosing the World T20 squad. 

India's T20 World Cup 2024 Squad: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.


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