A look at how India is gearing up for the T20 World Cup

The T20 extravaganza is all set to start for India from October 24th, Sunday, in the UAE and Oman. While the Indian team waits to officially kick-start their T20 World Cup campaign, the practice games have already begun.

India won the first practice game on October 18th, 2021, against England by seven wickets, scoring 193/3 while chasing down the Englishmen’s 188/5. Some standout performers for India included Mohammed Shami, with his 3-wicket haul, Ishan Kishan, with a 70 (46), and KL Rahul with a 51 (24). Bowlers Ashwin and Bumrah ended with economical spells to their names too.

India has been a part of all of the T20 World Cups conducted so far. However, it was only the inaugural edition that India won, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, after which this cup has remained elusive.

Going into the most important tournament of the shortest format of the game, below are a few things to keep in mind for every Indian fan:

A look at the group stage

India is a part of Group 2, along with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Pakistan and one game each with the two teams that make it to Group 2 from the Round 1 matches.

India will start by facing arch-rivals and neighbours Pakistan in the first Group 2 game of the World Cup in a Sunday night encounter on October 24th. A detailed look at India’s group encounters is in the graphic below:

Team India’s squad

Team India’s squad for the T20 World Cup has 15 names, six of whom are men who’ve donned the Blue and Gold in the last one month during the IPL season. The list of players in the squad are as mentioned below:

Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sardul Thakul, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.

Best performers for India in T20 World Cups

Indian captain Virat Kohli has been the Men in Blue’s best performer with the bat in the T20 World Cup. Over 16 matches, he has accumulated 777 runs at an impressive average of 86.33. He has scored at a strike rate of 133.04 and is the fourth highest run getter in the tournament’s history so far.

Rohit Sharma is not too far behind at 673 runs in 28 matches. He has 24 maximums to his name and is only nine behind Yuvraj Singh’s 33 sixes, who currently holds the record for the most sixes for India in the T20 World Cup.

When it comes to bowlers, spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin has been the top performer for India, having picked 20 wickets in 15 games that he’s played. His average is a healthy 16.70 with best bowling figures of 4/11 in a game against Australia in 2014, which reduced the team to 86 all-out and earned India a 73-run win.

Indian openers in form

Three players - Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and youngster Ishan Kishan - will potentially be taking over opening responsibilities for Team India at the T20 World Cup. All three of them are in a good rhythm with the bat.

Rohit Sharma, who has just come off captaining for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, scored the most runs for the Men in Blue and Gold. He has consistently given the team good starts, and has bailed out the national team in times of crisis innumerable times. In Kohli’s own words ahead of the first practice match, “Rohit is a no-brainer”.

KL Rahul has been in red-hot form, scoring 626 runs in the Indian Premier League. He was a top contender for the orange cap, holding on to it until the final, where Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis overtook him by a handful of runs. Rahul also raced to a 24 ball 51 in the first practice game against England, making his case stronger.

Ishan Kishan has been the newest find in national colours for the opening spot. While IPL 2021 didn’t really click for him, he ended it on a fabulous note, scoring 84 (32) at a strike rate of 262.5 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, helping put up a total of 235/9 in 20 overs for the team. He, too, shone against England in the practice game with a 70 (retd hurt) in 46 balls.

These three in form is good news for the Men in Blue for the big tournament.

Indian bowlers in form at the IPL

The Indian bowlers in the T20 World Cup squad have put up strong performances at IPL 2021 in UAE this year. Jasprit Bumrah and latest entrant Shardul Thakur have 21 wickets each, while Mohammed Shami and newest spin wizard Varun Chakaravarthy sit right behind them at 19 and 18 wickets each.

The Indian bowlers will be looking forward to continuing their good form in the UAE for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Rohit - India’s most experienced T20 World Cup players

Rohit Sharma is the only Indian player to have featured in all the six editions of the T20 World Cup organised so far. In terms of the experience in this tournament, Rohit will be the senior most in the team.

Apart from him, there are only six other players who have featured in all T20 World Cup editions. They include Dwayne Bravo (WI), Mahmadulla (BAN), Mushfiqur Rahim (BAN), Chris Gayle (WI), Shoaib Malik (PAK).

India has a big season to look forward to, and the fact that this would be the captain Virat Kohli’s final one as a skipper would also hold importance to him and the team. The Indian team, with most players coming off of a good IPL 2021 season, look ready to take on the T20 World Cup challenge.

On to the mega event, boys. We’re excited to see you take the field!