India vs Windies T20s: Auditions for grand stage as fringe players look to put forward their cases

With KL Rahul, all-rounders Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, R Ashwin and pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami unavailable for this series, this series is a chance to test the back-ups.

Published: 16th February 2022 09:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th February 2022 09:33 AM   |  A+A-

An Indian flag is carried by a fan as he stands in the spectators area of Eden Gardens on the eve of the first T20 between India and West Indies in Kolkata. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  The T20 World Cup in Australia is only eight months away and India more or less have their core ready in place. They may still be far of from identifying their best XI, but they have definitely earmarked the players who will be contention for the event to be held in October-November.

With several first-choice players unavailable for the three-match series against West Indies starting at Eden Gardens on Wednesday provides India an ideal opportunity to further narrow down their resources.

While the core is intact, what is still not clear at this stage is the make-up of the XI and the sort of combination India are looking to play Down Under.

With KL Rahul, all-rounders Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, R Ashwin and pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami unavailable for this series, this series is a chance to test the back-ups.

Incidentally, India would be going back to their wrist-spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — who were not deemed good enough for the T20 World Cup held in the UAE last October-November.

With the World Cup being held in Australia – conditions were wrist-spinners generally tend to do well – India may take at least one of them.

Playing both may lead to them compromising on batting depth, something they seem to be keen on.

Similarly, India have to decide who their back-up opener is as there is a three-way fight between Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer.

The Sri Lanka series that follows soon after the Indian Premier League will be an audition for certain roles. 

Speaking on the eve of the first T20 against West Indies, skipper Rohit Sharma said, this series will help India keep the alternate players ready.

“The idea is to identify the players who are going to play the World Cup and try to give them the game time. There are a lot of players who are injured and not here with the team. Come the World Cup, I don’t know who’s going to be fit and who’s not going to be fit, but we’ve just got to get the back-ups ready. We have a packed schedule and injuries will happen. You have to take injury into consideration. It is important that we give guys enough game time keeping everything in mind. So it is important for us to use this series and after this to our good potential and see whoever are likely to play  — what they can offer us,” said Rohit.

Leading upto the World Cup, it will be interesting to see how the management handles various players, including Hardik Pandya, Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

No doubt, the spinners are big weapons when it comes to wicket-taking ability, but the duo not being handy with the bat would make matters complicated when they have all the players available for selection.

“They have been a great asset in the past for us and will continue to be. It is just that things should start falling in place for them…..At the same time, there are so many options for us, because when you play the shortest format, you have to look at someone with the bowling skill, who can bat as well,” said Rohit.


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