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5 Indian players who might be picked for 2020 T20 World Cup

These are the five new faces that can potentially find themselves on the flight to Australia for the T20 World Cup next year.

Rahul Chahar, Mumbai Indians, IPL
Rahul Chahar. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The seventh edition of the T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia from October 18 to November 15, 2020.  Ever since the advent of the Indian Premier League in 2008, India have found players who’ve went on to prove themselves in Indian colours, serving different roles in the team. The selectors have often tried different players in the shortest format of the game while resting the seniors.

However, now they will look to build a team with some of the core players as the event is only around 16 months away.  There are many factors that should be taken into consideration. If it’s these players and some others that the BCCI would like to believe can be a part of the T20I squad, they should be given enough international exposure to acclimatize themselves with playing at the highest level for their country.

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Another contributing factor is that these players have played most of their cricket in Indian conditions, their performances are being judged predominantly through their IPL records. The pitch and other conditions would be much different in Australia and they should play more away from home in the lead up to the tournament.

Here we bring you five Indian cricketers who might get picked for T20 World Cup 2020:

1. Krunal Pandya

Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ever since making his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians, Krunal Pandya has played an integral role in his team’s overwhelming success in the following campaigns. In 55 IPL matches, he has scored 891 runs at a strike rate of 146.07, often adding impetus to the scoring rate at the back end of the innings that has so many times proved to be the difference between winning and losing.

His exploits with the ball don’t go unnoticed as well. Krunal has picked 40 wickets with a miserly economy of 7.17, never really allowing the batsmen to get away easily with his immaculate line and length. Yes, he gets the stick on odd occasions but his consistency in IPL matches has been right up there. He’s a high utility player, contributing significantly with both bat and ball.

While his younger brother, Hardik Pandya, has already gone on to become an important part of the Indian team, Krunal has established himself as a vital cog in the Mumbai Indians’ setup which is thethe most successful team of the IPL, winning four titles so far. He was also awarded the Man of the Match in the final of the 2017 edition which the franchise won.

Krunal Pandya has only played 11 T20 Internationals and hasn’t been able to come up with something substantial in the limited opportunities that he’s got. Being a T20 specialist, the selectors must keep an eye on his progress and ensure he gets enough exposure so that he could fill in the all-rounder slot for the team that would compete in the World T20, should the need arise.

2. Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer of India. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Captain of the newly named Delhi Capitals, Shreyas Iyer has played 62 IPL matches so far, scoring 1681 runs at a strike rate of 126.96, giving stability to a team that’s power-packed with hard hitters around him. His role has often demanded him to drop anchor, steering the side through a tough situation or ensuring the momentum is maintained if the team is cruising during that phase of the match.

He’s been around the domestic and India A circuit for quite some time now. In only 6 ODI matches that he’s played for India, he has a top score of 88 against Sri Lanka in Mohali. This game was played in December 2017 and would be remembered for the stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma‘s 208. Iyer’s stroke-filled innings was pleasing to the eye and further evidence of his ability at the topmost level.

Shreyas Iyer has the maturity to hold one end, irrespective of the situation. With all the conundrum regarding the number 4 spot in the ODI team, he could well be drafted in that role for the T20Is. In the Australian decks that would assist pace and bounce, the Mumbai lad looks adept at handling that while laying down the platform for the explosive lower-middle order to capitalise.

3. Shreyas Gopal

Shreyas Gopal
Shreyas Gopal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Taking 38 wickets in 31 IPL matches after making his debut in the 2014 edition, this leg-spinner has been most promising and hugely effective in the last couple of seasons. Playing for the Rajasthan Royals, Shreyas Gopal has outfoxed the best of batsmen from around the world. With a career IPL average of 19.37, he’s accounted for both Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers’ wickets in the same innings on three occasions, quite a record to have.

His variations have been hard to pick and batsmen have clearly struggled against his assorted blend of googlies and stock deliveries. A new aspect of the game that he’s recently developed is that he’s proving to be an effective batsman as well, adding important runs that are ever so crucial in a T20 game.

That might give him a slight edge over India’s reputed spin twins in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. While the duo has been successfully troubling the batsmen all over the globe, Shreyas’ capabilities with the bat would prove to be consequential in a sport where the margin of error is very less. The deeper the batting order goes, more would be their chances to overcome from a tough situation.

4. Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw of India A. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

After he’d burst into the scenes by being only the second Indian, after Sachin Tendulkar, to score a hundred in debut in both Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy, Prithvi Shaw has made a name for himself at a very young age. He’s also scored a century on Test debut for the senior Indian test team, in the home series against the Windies in October 2018.

Being India’s U19 captain during their victorious campaign in January 2018, Prithvi Shaw holds the reputation of a fierce opening batsman who would take the attack to the opposition with his ability to find boundaries at will. However, the same approach has also proved to be the reason for his downfall at times.

After making his IPL debut in the 2018 edition, he’s scored 598 runs at a strike rate of 141.04 while opening the batting for his team. If he works on his game to become a more consistent player, given his style of play he would be valuable to the Indian team for the T20 World Cup next year.

5. Rahul Chahar

Rahul Chahar, Mumbai Indians, IPL
Rahul Chahar. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The younger brother of Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar had an IPL to savour this year with the Mumbai Indians picking up the IPL trophy for the fourth time. The franchise seems to find a spin-bowling prodigy every season. If it was Mayank Markande in the 2018 edition, it was Rahul Chahar in 2019.

In 16 IPL matches so far, he has 15 scalps to his name at an economy of 6.78, clearly spinning a web around some of the world class batsmen which also includes MS Dhoni. Performances at the IPL stage often are considered to make it to the highest level and Rahul has just managed to do it.

The leggie has decent variations and if given a chance, should be able to live up to the expectations. It will be interesting to see if the selectors prefer him in case, Chahal is rested for the upcoming Windies T20Is.

~ Written by Dwaipayan Mukherjee

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