If there are no last-minute injuries, the certainties for the World Cup are Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvenshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.
That leaves four spots and there are about nine contenders, eight being part of the Asia Cup touring party (including stand-byes). Sanju Samson is not part of the team, but he will come into the discussion later. TOI takes a look at the fringe players who will be looking to make a mark in Asia Cup and stake a claim for the World Cup.
TOI looks at fringe players who are eager to make an impact in Asia Cup and make the cut for T20 World Cup.
DEEPAK HOODA: Has come up in leaps and bounds in the last one year. He made some crucial contributions in the series against England and West Indies. He is the quintessential T20 batter, with innovative shots in his repertoire and the ability to come up with the sudden big shot when it matters. Good against spinners; the tracks in UAE may be to his liking. 161.17 – Hooda’s strike rate could be matchwinning in tight situations.
R ASHWIN: With Jadeja and Chahal certainties, the battle for the third spinner’s slot will be between Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi. Ashwin’s experience is crucial, and he will definitely do well on UAE tracks, which support his kind of bowling. 6.78 – Ashwin’s economy rate in 54 games shows his ability to restrict runs.
RAVI BISHNOI: The leggie was quite superb in the three T20s he played against West Indies and is a definite wicket-taking option. It will be up to captain Rohit to decide if he wants a second wrist-spinner in the squad or an intelligent offie who is more of a containing option. Bishnoi is a good outfielder as well and the Asia Cup will provide the management with the right cues. 13.18 – Bishnoi’s strike rate is phenomenal, it shows his wicket-taking ability
ARSHDEEP SINGH: Another T20 find for India in the last one year. He is the lone left-arm pace option for India, which puts him in pole position for the World Cup spot. Arshdeep’s ability to bowl yorkers, his intelligent change of pace and a cool head under pressure make him a favourite. All he needs now is to keep the good work going in Asia Cup. 9 wickets – Arshdeep has taken in 6 games at an economy rate of 6.33.
AVESH KHAN: With the team management slowly phasing Mohammed Shami out of T20s, Avesh has become an option with his extra pace. But the young pacer has the tendency to be a little erratic which can go against him. It’s to be seen if Rohit gives him the opportunities in UAE. 8.67 – Avesh’s economy rate after 13 games leaves him on a weaker wicket.
The three stand-byes Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar will not get a chance in Asia Cup unless there is an injury or Covid issue. But all three will get their chancess in the next two series, with Deepak Chahar being best placed to make the team of 15 for World Cup because of his ability to swing the ball and strike some lusty blows down the order.