5 Bowlers who can be used as pinch-hitters in T20 World Cup 2020

Even in the upcoming T20 World Cup, the cricketing fraternity will witness some of the bowlers changing the game with their batting prowess.

England v India - 3rd ODI: Royal London One-Day Series

Shardul Thakur. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Kiran Udaykumar

Jr. Staff Writer

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At the moment the cricketing community is enjoying the T20 extravaganza. Apart from the domestic T20 leagues, the calendar is full of bilateral series in the lead up to the biggest cricketing event of the year, T20 World Cup in Australia. In short, the fans are assured of the high-octane action in the coming months. Particularly the power-hitting which is considered as the most enjoyable facet of the slam-bang version of the game.

Surprisingly, nowadays the power game is not just limited to batsmen. Even the bowlers are supposed to clear the ropes with their batting muscle. There have been times when they are sent ahead of the established batsmen when the team is in search of quick runs.

Sometimes those runs might also turn out to be the difference between a winning and losing team. Even in the upcoming T20 World Cup, the cricketing fraternity will witness some of the bowlers changing the game with their batting prowess.

Here is the list of 5 bowlers who can be used as pinch-hitters in the upcoming T20 World Cup :

1. Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

From their recent success, it is crystal clear that Afghanistan is one of the fastest-growing cricketing nations. Not only the country is full of exciting talents but they have also been blessed with a handful of match-winners in their line-up. One of them being Rashid Khan, who is now revered as a national hero by the Afghanistan cricket fans.

The 21-year-old is the perfect epitome of excellence as he has already picked up 240 international wickets across formats. Most of them coming in the limited-overs cricket where he has been creating records for fun including of the youngest bowler to top the ICC ODI bowling rankings. Khan is currently the No.1 ranked T20I bowler. Hence, the Asian team will be again banking on him to continue his dream run with the ball in the upcoming T20 championship.

In addition to that, the team will also be counting on his batting credentials as he topped the ICC all-rounder rankings a couple of years ago. Like his idol Shahid Afridi, Rashid plays with an aggressive mindset irrespective of the situation of the game.

His fearless batting often fetches important runs for the team and it was evident from his recent outings for Adelaide Strikers in BBL where he enjoys a healthy strike rate of 162. So now he will be expected to do more damage with his Camel bat in the 2020 IPL and as well as in the T20 World Cup.

2. Sam Curran

Sam Curran
Sam Curran. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Fresh from the 50-overs World Cup win now the England cricket fans will be hoping for the double white-ball whammy when their team will take on the field in the 7th edition of the T20 championship. Moreover, it will be an opportunity for Eoin Morgan‘s men to bury the ghosts of the 2016 T20 World Cup and continue their white-ball dominance. But before that, the team will be trying out some new playing combinations and it will be extremely difficult for the selectors to ignore a talented cricketer like Sam Curran.

Even more so after his impressive performances in the recently concluded Test series against South Africa. Throughout the series, the youngster showed great composure and earned praises for his all-round skills. That’s why it will not be a bad idea to include him in the current T20I squad as he has been sharpening his white-ball skills in the T20 leagues around the globe. Notably, a couple of months ago Curran also bagged an elusive contract in the 2020 IPL auctions owing to his good outings in the last edition.

To be precise in the 2019 IPL Sam picked up 10 wickets and scored 95 runs for KXIP. In the process, he showcased his hard-hitting abilities along with his new-ball skills. Besides, he also stroked his maiden IPL half-century and finished the tournament with a strike rate of 172. So given a chance Curran can be a valuable asset for the England team in this year’s T20 World Cup. More importantly, his presence will allow Ben Stokes to play freely as he has been overburdened in recent times.

3. Shardul Thakur

England v India - 3rd ODI: Royal London One-Day Series
Shardul Thakur. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

To be fair the Indian team should be excused for their recent ODI series loss to New Zealand. It should be considered an aberration as the team has been playing consistent cricket in the last 12 months. Moreover, the team was able to gain some positives even when they experienced a tough time in the field. One of them being the matured performances of Shardul Thakur who made most of his limited opportunities.

The Mumbaikar managed to bag 12 wickets in his eight appearances across formats. Though he bowled some expensive overs, he always helped the team by picking up wickets at crucial junctures. On top of that, Thakur also played a couple of cameos down the order. In all, he seems to be developing as an all-round cricketer with each outing. Thus now he has increased his chances of getting his ticket booked to this year’s T20 carnival in Australia.

Unlike other Indian bowlers, Thakur has immense self-belief in his batting capabilities. He has already struck 6 half-centuries in the first-class cricket. Besides he has a habit of dealing in boundaries it is evident from his ODI and T20I strike rate which is 145 and 182 respectively. In all Shardul can definitely beef up the lower order batting of the Blue team in the upcoming T20 World Cup which has been an area of concern for Virat Kohli and co in the last year or so.

4. Keemo Paul

Keemo Paul
Keemo Paul. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The current World champions, West Indies may not be hot-favourites to win the upcoming T20 saga but they are expected to spring few surprises in their title defence. The reason being the country’s rich T20 cricketing history and their accomplishments in the slam-bang version of the game. Moreover, the team has some specialized T20 mercenaries in their line-up including Keemo Paul.

The youngster from Guyana is considered one of the finest bowling talents to emerge from the island nation in recent times. In particular, his white-ball skillset has made him a valuable commodity in the T20 leagues around the globe. With his pace and bag of tricks, he can bowl efficiently at any stage of the game. Apart from his fast-bowling versatility, he can also contribute with his batting credentials.

That’s why the 21-year-old will be an important member of the Caribbean team in the 7th edition of the T20 World Cup. Like most of the West Indies players, Paul can also hit sixes effortlessly. It can be validated from his highest ODI score of 46 which came against India at the end of last year. The innings consisted of 3 sixes and 4 fours. Even in the CPL, he has exhibited his power game on multiple occasions. So now there is no doubt that Paul can also be viewed as a game-changer with the bat in his hand.

5. Isuru Udana

Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

At the moment the Sri Lankan cricket is in complete shambles. Such has been their decline that it is hard to believe that they are the former T20 World champions. They have lost 6 of their last 7 T20 bilateral series. So looking at their recent record it will be a surprise if they managed to qualify the group stages of the upcoming World Cup. However, they have a couple of experienced T20 stars like Lasith Malinga and Isuru Udana to save their sinking ship.

Talking about the latter, he has already played more than 160 T20s in his decade long career. In that, he has accounted for 170 wickets at an economy rate of 8.2. Those numbers are quite good considering the dominance of bat over the ball in the last few years. In layman terms, Udana is a complete T20 package and that’s why he was even picked by the Bangalore franchise in the 2020 IPL auctions.

Although the veteran is known for his death-bowling skills of late, he has developed himself into a useful lower-order batsman. His innings of 84 against Proteas is a testimony to the fact where he hit 6 towering sixes. Thereafter, he continued his good work with the bat when he represented Paarl Rocks in the Mzansi Super League. Thus, now the island nation will be expecting more runs of Udana’s willow when it matters the most.