Stats Analysis: Why India missed a trick by not picking Yuzvendra Chahal in T20 World Cup squad

Yuzvendra Chahal’s absence was pointed out as the major reason behind India’s poor show.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Gaurav Tripathi

Jr. Statistician

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Team India suffered a horrendous campaign in the T20 World Cup 2021 and shockingly got knocked out of the league stage. Notably, this was the very first instance of Team India not advancing to the knock-out stage of an ICC event since 2012. Needless to mention, the Virat Kohli-led side faced a lot of backlash for their mediocre show as their premature exit was never on the cards.

Yuzvendra Chahal’s absence was pointed out as the major reason behind India’s poor show. The leg-spinner had been a regular face in India’s white-ball set-up since 2017 and his record is also phenomenal. However, the BCCI selectors felt Chahal isn’t the best of picks for the global event. Hence, youngsters like Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar were picked ahead of him. Even Ravichandran Ashwin, who had played his last T20I in 2017, earned a call-up.

Yuzvendra Chahal – A captain’s delight in white-ball cricket 

This move obviously didn’t work as the entire Indian bowling attack took just two wickets combined against Pakistan and New Zealand. The same cost them a place in the semi-final. As the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were also a part of that line-up, it won’t be fair to say Chahal would have definitely changed India’s fortunes.

Most wickets for India in T20Is

However, it can be admitted that India might have had a better chance with the leggie in the playing XI. After all, he’s a proven star of this format. In fact, he was India’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is before the start of the tournament. Bumrah went past his tally in the competition. Still, he holds the second rank in the list.

Players Matches Wickets Best Figures Economy Rate Strike Rate
Jasprit Bumrah 55 66 3/11 6.52 17.9
Yuzvendra Chahal 49 63 6/25 8.32 18.2
Ravichandran Ashwin 49 58 4/8 6.86 18.9
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 52 50 5/24 6.92 22.1
Ravindra Jadeja 55 46 3/15 6.99 23.3

Best bowling strike rate among Leg-spinners in T20Is since Yuzvendra Chahal’s debut

Speaking of the wicket-taking abilities, Yuzvendra Chahal has been a captain’s delight whenever a breakthrough is required. Be it powerplay, middle-overs, and even death overs sometimes, the leg-spinner has been a genuine wicket-taker. In fact, Chahal’s bowling strike rate in T20Is is the sixth-best among leg-spinners since his debut in 2016.

Players Matches Wickets Strike Rate
Rashid Khan 42 84 11.14
Wanindu Hasaranga 33 52 13.71
Ish Sodhi 54 66 23.24
Adil Rashid 50 60 21.31
Shadab Khan 59 67 22
Yuzvendra Chahal 49 63 25.3

Most wickets in IPL matches in UAE since 2020

For the unversed, BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma had said that spinners who could bowl fast were preferred in India’s T20 World Cup squad while speaking of Chahal’s exclusion. Interestingly, Chahal has been the best spinner in UAE in the last two Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons. In fact, among bowlers with at least 30 wickets in the last two IPL seasons, only matches played in UAE, Chahal is the only bowler to have an economy rate of below 7.

Players Matches Wickets Economy Rate Strike Rate
Jasprit Bumrah 22 42 7.07 12.57
Kagiso Rabada 25 37 8.1 15.51
Yuzvendra Chahal 23 35 6.7 14.91
Anrich Nortje 24 34 7.65 16.12
Mohammed Shami 20 31 8 15.03

Meanwhile, Chahal is back in India’s T20I squad for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, starting from November 17. With the next T20 World Cup, which is slated to be played in Australia, being less than a year away, the 31-year-old would be determined to shine in national colours and take India to glory down under.