Predicting India’s pace attack: Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the fate of the ICC T20 World Cup is hanging in the balance. The ICC is yet to decide upon its schedule, and the cricket fans worldwide are hoping that tournament will go ahead as per its original schedule. However, sooner or later, the tournament is bound to take place. India are once again pre-tournament favorites to win the competition. Virat Kohli & Co. has earned such a reputation over the years that they enter every tournament among the top favorites. The same could not be said in the yesteryears. India used to have a batting line-up filled with superstars, but the same couldn’t be said about the bowling department. Primarily Indian bowling was too dependent on spinners, and pace bowling was relatively weak. The picture has been changed now. India have plenty of pace bowling options at their disposal, and it would be difficult for the team management to select the best combination.
We first need to take a look at all the available options India have for selection:
Jasprit Bumrah – Arguably the best pace bowler in the world at the moment considering all formats. Jasprit Bumrah has been a revelation since his introduction to international cricket. His ability to bowl yorkers at will is unparalleled. He is the best death bowler in the world at the moment, which makes him indispensable from the team in the T20 format. His numbers speak for him as Bumrah has picked up 59 wickets in 49 games at an impressive economy rate of 6.67.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – A conventional swing bowler – Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his comeback from injury against South Africa. Bhuvi can swing the new bowl both ways with makes him a dangerous new-ball bowler. However, Bhuvi also bowls good yorkers, which makes him a good death bowler too. Kumar has developed his game with time as he has added some extra pace and different slowers bowls in his arsenal, which makes him a perfect T20 bowler.
Mohammad Shami – Shami is a genuine wicket-taking option. He has pace, bounce, and ability to surprise the batsmen. He has the rare ability to reverse-swing the old ball as well. But Shami lacks the variations required in a T20 game. His economy rate of 9.63 in T20s is the evidence of the lack of thoughtfulness in his bowling in the shortest form of the game.
Shardul Thakur – India tried Shardul Thakur as in New Zealand to add further depth in their pace bowling attack. The pacer has the wicket-taking abilities for sure, and his tally of 21 wickets in 14 T20Is reflects that as well. However, Thakur finds it difficult to contain the batsmen in the crunch situation, which is crucial in T20 cricket.
Deepak Chahar – Another convention swing bowler in stock, Deepak Chahar, is the genuine wicket-taking option at the top. He has already shown a glimpse of his brilliance in 10 T20Is he has played by picking up 17 wickets. However, the pacer lacks pace and the ability to bowl at the death.
Navdeep Saini – The newest kid in the block – Navdeep Saini has impressed everyone in his debut series. The youngster is tall and raw. He has the pace and the ability to bowl yorkers to trouble the batsmen. Saini has picked up 13 wickets in 9 T20Is at a reasonable economy rate of 7.16
After the comeback of Hardik Pandya, India are likely to go ahead with 3 pacers. While Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will make the cut for sure, Mohammad Shami is expected to miss out. There will be a toss between Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar for the 3rd pacer’s place. If the IPL happens before the T20 World Cup, whichever player will have the better season is likely to get the nod.