India were outright favourites for Asia Cup 2022. They came into the tournament with their much-hyped free-flowing game. India it seemed was finally looking beyond toss outcomes.
The toss did go in their favour in the first game against Pakistan. But chasing a score of under 150, India’s top-order looked shackled. It was down to the individual brilliance of Hardik Pandya that India managed to sail through. But they were at the receiving end of the toss in two crucial games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super 4s.
Failing to qualify for the Asia Cup finals:
In both these games, India batted first and posted par totals if not more. But their bowling too crumbled under pressure. India failed to qualify for the finals. It was the first time since 2014 that they got knocked out in the first stage itself.
Question marks over the current team:
India’s team combination came into scrutiny far too many times in the tournament. India appeared to be short of options in the crunch games. The injury to a few key players has raised several questions about the management’s decision-making too.
The loss has opened doors for a few:
India’s disappointing loss has now opened doors for the previously ignored players. These players were overlooked for the crop that went ahead to play the Asia Cup. But few talented and proven performers are again back in the reckoning.
We look at 3 Indian Players Who Could Make T20I Comeback:
#3 Shardul Thakur
India has to fill the Ravindra Jadeja-sized hole if he remains unfit for the T20 World Cup. They tried playing Deepak Hooda at number 7 but it didn’t yield the desired results. Hooda as a finisher looked like a fish out of the water. The captain doesn’t seem to trust his bowling skills too.
India has the option of playing Axar Patel. But in Australian conditions, will India need an extra spinner is something that only time will tell. It is here where a certain Shardul Thakur can come into play. He is a handy lower-order batter who can smash a few lusty blows. Thakur can be the fourth or the fifth seamer playing at number 7 as per the team’s dynamic.
#2 Sanju Samson
There has been a growing voice over the inclusion of Sanju Samson in the squad. KL Rahul’s reluctance to play the aggressive game has once again brought Samson’s case at the forefront. He is someone who took to playing the impact game even before it became a norm.
Samson is flamboyant against both pace and spin. He will look for a big hit after scoring one already. This is where he is fundamentally different from the current Indian batters. They look desperate to score briskly while Samson is a natural at it. India can look to bring him back in the fold for the T20 World Cup down under.
#1 Mohammed Shami
India’s pace attack has looked pedestrian, to say the least in the Asia Cup. They failed to pick wickets in the powerplay and crumbled under pressure at the death. Even the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked listless in crunch situations. India seemed to have missed a trick in not playing Mohammed Shami after the T20 World Cup 2021.
He had a fantastic IPL where he played a pivotal role in Gujarat Titans’ championship success. Shami can be the enforcer who could be trusted with picking wickets across phases in the game. He could be the X-factor in the bowling lineup hunting for wickets.