ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Ravichandran Ashwin are among the top underperformers from India's campaign in T20 World Cup 2022. Is it the end of the road for some of them in T20Is??
India have endured yet another disappointing ICC tournament as they were forced to make an exit in the semi-final stage of the T20 World Cup 2022 taking place in Australia. Since being crowned the champions of ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, the men in blue are yet to taste success and win an ICC trophy since then.
The team has a habit of reaching really close yet ending up so far with a series of defeats in ICC knock-out games starting from T20 World Cup 2014 Final to WTC Final in 2021. To add to their forgettable list is the clueless performance dished out by them against England in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2022.
This particular team led by Rohit Sharma had a good blend of youth and experience and was rightly considered highly capable of ending India’s title drought in ICC events. They started their campaign with a thrilling last ball win over Pakistan and went on to win yet another humdinger against Bangladesh. A close defeat at the hands of South Africa didn’t deter the team from finishing at the top of Group 2 in the Super 12 stage.
But as it has been the case for almost close to a decade, Team India failed to cross the knock-out hurdle yet again. India bowed out of the T20 World Cup 2022 after losing what was a one-sided semi-final by a whopping margin of 10 wickets.
Team India didn’t even put up a fight against a rampant England who dominated the Rohit-led side in all departments of the game. The top-order batting has been a major concern for the team for a long time and the worst fear came true come the crucial game.
Time running out for KL Rahul
The likes of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma didn’t have runs behind them coming into this tournament. Though Virat Kohli regained his touch in Asia Cup 2022 held just a month before the World Cup, there was always concern on how this trio will fare in the biggest T20 event of the world. While Kohli ended up the tournament as its leading run-scorer with 296 runs, the Rohit-Rahul duo struggled throughout and looked badly out of form.
KL Rahul in T20Is in 2022
T20 WC 2022
KL Rahul’s approach towards batting, especially in the powerplays, has been questioned recently by several cricketing pundits and observers of the game alike. Rahul has a habit of taking a lot of time to settle in which prepares him to accelerate later. Now, this is an approach which works well in situations where there is less pressure, and Rahul thrives in them as seen in several Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons in the past few years. The trouble begins when he is thrown in high-pressure situations where this approach proves to be counter-intuitive and Rahul is seen to be struggling against top sides in the last two editions of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, and this often puts the entire pressure on the opening partner at the other end.
Even in this World Cup, KL Rahul played as many as two maiden overs, before opening his account which is mediocre going by today’s T20 standards. Also, the runs didn’t flow from his bat as one is used to see in the past. Though he hit two half-centuries, both came against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe which had decent bowling attacks but really not that potent when one compares them with the likes of South Africa, England and Pakistan. Rahul failed in the three crucial matches against Pakistan & South Africa in the Super 12 stage, and against England in the semi-final of the World Cup.
Time may be running out for India’s vice-captain if he continues to play with this attitude.
Rohit Sharma may be towards the end of his T20I career
Like Rahul, his opening partner didn’t have the best of World Cups and had severely mediocre returns in the big games of the World Cup. Rohit Sharma's only half-century came against the Netherlands and he largely struggled to make it big, that is expected out of him whenever he walks out on the field with his pads on. Before the World Cup, India’s skipper at least gave the team brisk starts. Unfortunately, even that was missing in this tournament.
Rohit Sharma in T20Is in 2022
T20 WC 2022
Tamil Nadu duo of Ashwin & Karthik may have played their last T20I game for India
The duo of senior off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin and wicketkeeper-batter, Dinesh Karthik are the other men in question. While the offie played all the 6 games, he didn’t make an impression with the ball taking 6 wickets and going at 8.15 runs per over. Except for two good outings with the bat, Ashwin hasn’t done much to take home in this World Cup and quite honestly, his days as India’s white-ball player may be numbered.
The same thing goes for Dinesh Karthik whose sensational comeback to the T20I side was marred by his own inconsistent form. Playing 4 games in the World Cup, Karthik could muster only 14 runs with the bat at a disappointing strike rate of 63.
The legendary Tamil Nadu players are in the last leg of their careers and have not been included in India’s next white-ball assignment scheduled to be held in New Zealand from November 17. So, this could very well be their last tournament for India in the white-ball format.
Time for youngsters to get a look in?
Rohit Sharma too isn’t getting any younger and has been rested for the New Zealand series. This is the same case for several of the other above-mentioned players. This could be a sign of things to come in the future when it comes to the T20I format. With the crop of talent emerging out of the country, it is not impossible to fill the void left by these great players.
The likes of Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson, among others, are some of the best young players in India and it is time for the team management to give them as many chances as possible to make them future ready. While most of these players are already playing ODIs regularly, it makes sense to try them in T20Is as well consistently.
With the pool of talent available at their disposal, India have largely underperformed at the big stage and the influx of fresh faces could be the much-needed impetus that India need to break the ICC trophy jinx.