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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Axar in the reckoning, Jaiswal has the edge in India’s selection drama for T20 World Cup

However, it’s still not clear when the 15-member squad will be made public. The deadline set by the ICC for submitting the provisional squad is Wednesday

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 30.04.24, 10:24 AM
Axar Patel

Axar Patel File picture

The dress rehearsal to India’s selection drama for the T20 World Cup in the US and the West Indies was held on the sidelines of Mumbai Indians’ match against Delhi Capitals in New Delhi on Saturday.

Chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who had been holidaying overseas, met captain Rohit Sharma with head coach Rahul Dravid joining them virtually. The formal meeting involving the five members of the selection committee and Board secretary-cum-convenor Jay Shah will take place in Ahmedabad on Tuesday afternoon.

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However, it’s still not clear when the 15-member squad will be made public. The deadline set by the ICC for submitting the provisional squad is Wednesday.

East Zone selector Shiv Sundar Das was present at Eden Gardens on Monday during the Kolkata Knight Riders-Delhi Capitals match.

Sources told The Telegraph that Ruturaj Gaikwad has forced his way into the reckoning with impressive knocks and will be involved in a fight for the second opener’s spot with Yashasvi Jaiswal. The CSK captain has 447 runs in nine matches and is placed second in the top-scorers’ list after Virat Kohli.

However, Jaiswal enjoys an edge since he provides variety in an one-dimensional top-order comprising Rohit, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav. A few surprises are not being ruled out though Shubman Gill and KL Rahul aren’t in the reckoning.

Sanju Samson too could miss the bus despite showing maturity and enjoying a good run in IPL 2024. With Rishabh Pant’s inclusion only a formality, there have been calls to include a lower-order batter like Dhruv Jurel or Jitesh Sharma. This logic will also ease Rinku Singh’s entry into the XV with Tilak Varma the dark horse.

Neither Jurel nor Jitesh has shown consistency and it remains to be seen if the team management insists on Samson since he has batted lower down the order as well.

The most interesting aspect will involve the composition of the spinners who are expected to play a big role on the slow surfaces in the West Indies. While Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are certainties, it could turn out to be an interesting battle between Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi.

Lefthanded Axar enjoys the confidence of the team management because of his batting skills and is tipped to make the grade. Being a lefthander, he provides variety in batting. The all-rounder failed with the bat on Monday but claimed two wickets during an impressive spell.

Yuzvendra Chahal though is not being considered in the mix.

Hardik Pandya’s indifferent form has put the selectors in two minds and there is talk about giving the vice-captaincy back to Pant. Jasprit Bumrah too could come into the fray when the national selectors discuss Rohit’s deputy.

Shivam Dube is also expected to make the grade as a power-hitter and all-rounder with his medium pace though he hasn’t bowled in this edition. He could be a handy replacement for Pandya if the circumstances demand so.

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