Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah's form is a growing concern ahead of T20 World Cup 2022.
With ICC World T20 2022 scheduled to be held in October-November in Australia, Team India’s immediate aim is to form a core of players who are in proper shape in the shortest format of the game.
Particularly in the context of a dismal show in ICC T20 World Cup 2021, where India got disqualified in the Super 12 round after they lost two crucial games against Pakistan and New Zealand, Team India have the additional pressure of matching up to the expectations of fans in the upcoming edition.
India’s team management staff has gone through an overhaul and there is a new captain in Rohit Sharma and a new head coach in Rahul Dravid.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 is an important stage where the performances of the top contenders for tickets to Australia will be analysed and discussed by the followers of the game.
But the cause of concern for fans has been the form of some of the top players in the ongoing season of world’s marquee cricket league.
Virat Kohli finds himself treading a lonely path
Nothing has created more buzz for Indian cricket fans than Virat Kohli's bad form in the past two years or so. A guy who used to score centuries for fun is now battling for a single run. Forget the century drought, in IPL 2022, King Kohli is even struggling to get off the mark.
Two consecutive ducks against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) speak volumes for it. In the nine matches that Virat Kohli has played this year, he has scored just 128 runs with an ordinary average of 16 and a mediocre strike rate of 119.62.
Rohit Sharma struggling with batting and captaincy alike
Along with Virat, his companion and India captain Rohit Sharma is also going through a rough patch. Not only with the bat but with captaincy as well. A champion side like Mumbai Indians (MI) losing eight consecutive games is a good illustration of this. In the eight matches, Rohit has scored 153 runs with an average of 19.12 and a strike rate of 126.44.
Ravindra Jadeja has looked indifferent
Chennai Super King (CSK) skipper Ravindra Jadeja’s story in IPL 2022 has been no different. Forget bat or ball, how often have you seen Jadeja dropping two catches in a single match? Has captaincy put him on the backfoot? Is the additional responsibility affecting the all-rounder's performance? So far, it appears to be the case.
Jasprit Bumrah economical but not as lethal
Apart from the trio, India's one more big gun Jasprit Bumrah hasn't been in the best of forms in this IPL. Even though he is bowling economical spells, fans are not witness to the same lethal Bumrah they used to know. Perhaps, he isn't getting enough help from the other Mumbai bowlers.
From eight matches that Jasprit Bumrah has played this year, he has taken only 5 wickets at an average of 45.80.
Teams are hitting the other Mumbai Indians (MI) bowlers, while tactically playing him with caution. The opponents' specific aim appears to be scoring 20-25 runs in Bumrah's quota of four overs without gifting him a wicket and displaying intent in the remaining 16 overs of the innings.
KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik only bright spots in an otherwise gloomy scenario
Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is in contention for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad, is also found wanting for runs. Furthermore, the million-dollar buy for MI, Ishan Kishan's form is causing Indian fans even more consternation.
The good news for India is that, ahead of the T20 World Cup this year, they have found a brilliant finisher in the form of wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik. Moreover, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) captain KL Rahul is in excellent form, hitting runs quite consistently.
To reiterate, the vulnerability of Rohit and Virat's performances is India's main concern. For a long time, the two haven't looked in touch. Hopefully, they will gain some form in the latter part of IPL.
Other team members like Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya all look in good nick in IPL 2022. In the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar look in good touch too.
India performed admirably well in the T20I series against West Indies and Sri Lanka earlier this year, sweeping both bilateral series 3-0. They also have a few more assignments before the big tournament later this year, including a five-match T20I series against South Africa in June and Asia Cup T20 before the World Cup, amongst other fixtures.