The Indian Premier League (IPL) has once again showed the depth of Indian cricket—especially in white-ball cricket. The likes of Rahul Tripathi, Umran Malik and Mohsin Khan enthralled the fans with their unique skill sets. However, their exploits once again exposed the kind of myopic thinking that has been blighting India’s white-ball cricket in recent years.
Without an ICC title since 2013, the plethora of events over the next five to six years gives India a chance to not just break this duck but create a dynasty that could inspire today’s kids. With the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November and till the ODI World Cup in 2027, there is going to be one ICC event every year, including two that will be held in the country (50-over World Cup in 2023 and T20 World Cup in 2026).
Rather than go with the tried and tested, it’s time the selectors look beyond established names who are on the wrong side of 30. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (current and former captains), for instance, will be part of this year’s T20 World Cup but their places shouldn’t be a certainty going forward. Considering they will not be part of this full cycle anyway, the selectors should be brave enough in sending that message across to all the big stars, without worrying about how it will be perceived.
Going by the statistics and performances this IPL, apart from the two, most of the India regulars in the last five years who are in their 30s don’t deserve to be in the team for the shortest format. If required, the reins of the team can be handed to a more dynamic captain. Hardik Pandya showed acumen as did Sanju Samson, but maturity would come with more matches and stiffer tests. Yet, Pandya’s bowling would augur well for India. With a slew of tours lined up, selectors can take a closer look at performers and non-performers—if required, they can take a more radical approach for the T20 World Cup later this year. Rather than emotion influencing decisions, perhaps it’s time to get more practical.