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Top three seam-bowling all-rounders in India's T20 circuit

Hardik Pandya has become the first Indian all-rounder to be ranked No. 1 in T20I in ICC Rankings. Who are the top three pace bowling all-rounders in India's T20 circuit.

Hardik Pandya has become the first Indian all-rounder to be ranked No. 1 in T20I in ICC Rankings. | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©Twitter_X)
Hardik Pandya becomes first Indian all-rounder to be ranked No. 1 in T20Is (Photo: ©Twitter/X)

Premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya became the first India player to earn the top spot among the T20I all-rounders. As per the latest ICC ranking, Pandya sits in the number one position with a 222 rating, tied with Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga. This comes on the back of a very successful campaign in the recently concluded Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

Pandya ended the ninth edition of the competition with 144 runs at an average of 48. His strike rate of over 150 always gave India stability towards the back end of the innings. The Gujarat-born also picked up 11 wickets at an economy of 7.64. This offered them proper balance in the playing eleven. 

Pandya returned with a match-winning haul of 3/20 against South Africa during the final. By dismissing Heinrich Klassen with a slow ball, he pulled the game back in India’s favour. With no ‘impact rule’ in T20 internationals, the role of a seam bowling all-rounder becomes quite crucial. 

Because of Pandya, the Rohit Sharma-led side went with three pacers and three spinners in the side. This didn’t affect their batting line-up, with Axar Patel being handy at number eight. Keeping in mind the next T20 World Cup in 2026, the ‘Men in Blue’ aim to find more such players.

A look at future seam-bowling all-rounders for India in T20I reserves

Shivam Dube 

There is no doubt about Shivam Dube’s batting ability. Over the years, he has shown how brutal he can be against the spinners. The role for him in this T20 World Cup was to smash those slow bowlers consistently. However, he didn’t enjoy the tournament, having made only 133 runs in eight innings. The strike rate of 114.65 at an average of 22.16 wasn’t positive either. 

The issue for the Mumbai-born is his lack of bowling. In the last two Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons, Dube managed 814 runs in 30 games. His average of nearly 37, at a strike rate of around 160, displays his sensational batting skills. But in those last 30 innings, he bowled on only one occasion, and that too for just one over.  

If he wants to be a regular T20I member for the blue brigade, there is scope for development. His variations will be vital when there is help from the surface. ‘Shivam Dube can be awkward in the right combination, where his cutters and change of pace could play a part.’ The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming noted during a chat with ESPNcricinfo.

IPL 2024_ Who is Nitish Kumar Reddy who plays for Sunriders Hyderabad (SRH) _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Nitish Kumar Reddy plays for SRH in IPL (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
Nitish Kumar Reddy

One of the most exciting talents for India in recent times is Nitish Kumar Reddy. He has the skill of batting in the middle order and could contribute with two to three overs in the middle phase. He was picked by the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) ahead of IPL 2024. The 21-year-old ended with 303 runs in 13 innings at an average of nearly 34. The strike rate of 142.92 showed how aggressive he could be with the bat. 

It was Hyderabad’s IPL 2024 fixture against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at Chandigarh. Reddy came in at number four and suddenly found the team struggling at 39/3 inside the powerplay. The maturity he showed in that 37-ball 64-run knock was phenomenal.

The young all-rounder understood the importance of the situation. At the onset, he focused mostly on taking singles before launching the big shots. Just like Dube, Reddy too needs to bowl more in these tournaments. For the whole IPL season, the medium-fast bowler rolled his arms for just 13.1 overs, picking up three wickets. The economy rate of 11.62 was very expensive as well.

When it comes to his T20 record, Nitish has featured in only 20 games, notching up 395 runs. The India selectors made a great move by adding him for the upcoming T20I series against Zimbabwe. It’s a shame that he was ruled out due to a hernia. Once he comes back from injury, Reddy needs to work on his bowling, as he carries the potential to become a star India all-rounder. 

Shardul Thakur

In the last two to three years, Shardul Thakur has been a regular member in overseas tests for India. He has shown his ability in both the bowling and batting departments. However, he is yet to crack the code in the shortest format of the game. Since making his T20I debut in 2018, Thakur has played just 25 T20Is in six years. 

The 32-year-old has batted only six times, managing 69 T20I runs at a strike rate of 181.57. His bowling has been poor, going for an economy rate of over nine while picking up 33 wickets. Thakur’s bowling in the death overs hasn’t been positive either. But he uses the variations to good effect in the middle phase of the innings. 

In the last three IPL seasons, the medium pacer has collected 27 wickets at an economy of around 10. His best IPL season was in 2021, and that’s when there was a bit of help on offer. If he could develop his bowling, Thakur could be a huge prospect for India in this format. 

Apart from these three, there are other notable options too. Venkatesh Iyer could be another option on the list. Ramandeep Singh has been doing well and could be a part of the team in the future. The likes of Baroda all-rounder Atit Sheth and Raj Bawa from Himachal Pradesh are the young all-rounders to look forward to in the future. It’s now up to the national selectors to handle these players well. 


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