Most cricket fans in India won’t need reminding that the T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in 2021.
Ranked second in the ICC’s T20 rankings behind England, Virat Kohli’s men are rightly in the hunt for the trophy they last won in 2007.
The strength in depth of Kohli’s squad was clear for all to see in the short format series win over England back in March. The captain was in his customary impeccable form, and the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav showed that they are ready to join the elite of T20 cricket.
Even fairly quiet series’ for Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant couldn’t diminish the sense that India are by and away the best white ball team on the planet right now, and it’s no shock to see them installed as the bookmakers’ favorites in the T20 World Cup cricket betting odds ahead of the October-November tournament.
But you can always improve and add marginal gains to your game, and the IPL has helped to showcase the talents of a number of stars who must be knocking on the door of India selection.
Here’s five who could yet force their way into Kohli’s squad for the World Cup.
It’s strange that for a player of his incredible talent, it has never quite happened on the international stage for Prithvi Shaw.
Once considered one of the finest young talents to emerge through the Indian schools system, Shaw was touted as the heir apparent to Sachin Tendulkar.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but the 21-year-old has been in fine form in the IPL – becoming only the second player in the competition’s history to score six boundaries in an over when he decimated the bowling of Shivam Mavi on his way to an 18-ball half century.
Dropped for the T20 series against England, Sanju Samson has done what all angry sports stars should do – prove their doubters wrong.
After 25 matches of IPL 2021, Samson is averaging 45.80 and has a strike rate of 145.85 – for a guy with six completed innings, those are extraordinary figures.
His score of 119 against the Punjab Kings was vintage Samson – some classic strokeplay matched by understated power. He is too good for the Indian selectors to ignore for long.
While yet to make his international debut, speedster Avesh Khan was called up as a net bowler for India’s preparations for the England series.
And that experience seems to have served the 24-year-old well. Harshal Patel may be the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2021, but Khan is next best in the rankings and boasts an excellent economy rate of 7.08.
A key figure in the rise of the Delhi Capitals, Khan looks to have what it takes to succeed at international level.
One of the fastest bowlers in world cricket, what’s most interesting about Prasidh Krishna is that he has added brains to the brawn.
As of Match 25, nobody had bowled more dot balls than the 25-year-old in IPL 2021, and given the high-scoring nature of the competition those are precious to say the least.
It shows that Prasidh has plenty of variety at his disposal to outfox the batsman, and he would be an excellent addition to the international set-up.
Even for a player of his great standing in the game, Shikhar Dhawan’s place in the India T20 squad is far from assured.
But his experience is invaluable, and even in the so-called ‘young man’s game’ of the IPL he continues to thrive.
As of Match 25, the left-hander had scored more runs than any other player in the competition, and that is a timely reminder to Kohli of his talents.
Could Dhawan, and the other four players on this list, bolster the India squad at the T20 World Cup?