The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a 17-man squad for the Ireland tour, which includes only two T20Is. The entry of Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson was a welcome move.
However, when Rahul Tewatia tweeted, “Expectations Hurt”, it raised an issue of how BCCI could have treated this tour as exposure for players who have consistently proven themselves in IPL and domestic cricket but haven’t got the chance to wear the Indian jersey enough.
Here’s a list of five players who should have been in the Indian squad for the Ireland tour
Rahul Tewatia (@rahultewatia02) June 15, 2022
Tewatia has been in the reckoning ever since he starred as a finisher in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League in UAE. To prove that it was not a fluke, he also did it again in 2021. In the 2022 edition, however, he was even named ‘Iceman’ for his skills of finishing close games with ice-cool ease.
The 29-year-old has so far played 103 T20s and scored 1,387 runs at a strike rate of 143 and an average of 27.74. Tewatia also has 54 wickets to his name from him. Most importantly, in the recently concluded IPL, he scored 217 runs with five not-outs to his name from him. He won two games by hitting boundaries on the last ball. But to not find a place in the Indian team even after all this must be hurting.
People may argue it is a World Cup year, so selectors should not muddle with the squad. But KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, the four core members of the Indian team, are not there in the squad, so what’s the harm in trying out everything that you have in store, especially on a tour to Ireland?
Prithvi has been knocking on the doors of the Indian Squad sincerely. Being ill for the latter part of the tournament, Prithvi could not showcase all that he had in store in IPL 2022, but he still scored 283 in 10 innings at a strike rate of 152 with two fifties to his name.
The Mumbaikar, who plays for Delhi Capitals, had scored more than 400 runs in the last IPL and more than 800 runs in the last Vijay Hazare Trophy. Despite all this, the 22-year-old has played just 6 ODIs and a solitary T20I and has not been in the reckoning for quite long.
Unlike Prithvi and Tewatia, Tilak Varma is fresh. In his first IPL season, the boy from Hyderabad impressed all with his temperament and composure. Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit Sharma went as far as to say that he will be playing all-format cricket for India very soon.
But the praises haven’t borne fruit so far as Tilak has been unable to find a place for himself in the team that will tour Ireland. It would be necessary to impress that he might not have been part of the playing eleven. Still, instead of taking someone like Suryakumar Yadav there, who might not have fully recovered from his injury and whose presence in the World Cup is more important than in Ireland, someone like Tilak could have been included for grooming.
Khaleel Ahmed/T Natarajan
Team India has been looking for a left-arm pacer ever since Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan left the scene. Now that Arshdeep Singh has been picked, either one among Khaleel Ahmed or T Natarajan should have also accompanied him to Ireland.
Agreed that Natarajan lost his form by the end of this season in IPL, but in this season itself, he also took 18 wickets. At one point, the left-arm pacer was an India mainstay, and ignoring him after one poor season in the IPL seems unfair.
Khaleel has also previously played for India and had a decent season with Delhi Capitals, with his pace consistently touching the low 140s.
Sending someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar for just two matches to Ireland as vice-captain when Sanju Samson could have easily been given the role makes no sense. Instead, another left-arm pacer should have been sent to test him in favorable conditions.
For a long time, India has not had a batter in the top order who could bowl if needed. Abhishek Sharma is one such player who could have been tried out. Ishan Kishan is in good form, no doubt, but Abhishek also turned a new leaf in his career this IPL after scoring 426 runs in 14 games with two fifties and a best of 75. He can bowl decent off-spin, too and hence could be groomed as a prospect.