After the conclusion of the 15th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the victory of the Gujarat Titans, Indian cricket fans are now turning their attention to International cricket. The Indian cricket team is going to face South Africa in the middle of controversies over the selectors’ decisions, which include the dismissal of Sanju Samson, who led the Rajasthan Royals to the IPL final. The five-match Twenty20 series starts on Thursday.
Ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup which will be held in Australia in October-November this year, it is an opportunity for the Indian cricket team to claim a position in the World Cup squad. Especially when the captains Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jaspreet Bumrah were rested.
Spearheads in the pace attack
With permanent faces like Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammad Shami rested, the Indian pace attack against South Africa will be led by a handful of shining players in the IPL. The Kashmiri Express Umran Malik and left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh have already made headlines in the IPL with their bullet shots. Although there were a handful of young Indian pacers who excelled in the IPL, Malik and Arshdeep got their first chance.
The fans are waiting for the performance of 22-year-old Umran Malik, who bowls at a speed of over 150 km/h in a row. Malik’s competition was against Lockie Ferguson in terms of speed. Malik, who was the main weapon of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the middle overs, took 19 wickets at that stage and it is clear that the Indian team’s eye is on Malik’s performance.
23- year old Arshdeep Singh, on the other hand, caught the attention with his explosive performance in death bowling. Arshdeep’s economy rate in the 15th season of IPL is 7.58 in death overs. Only Jaspreet Bumrah has an average of 7.38. Bumrah and Arshdeep hold the record for the highest Yorkers in the tournament with 38 each. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, and Hershel Patel joining them, the competition will intensify.
The young man in his thirties, ‘Finisher’ Karthik
Dinesh Karthik, who has once again made his way into the Indian team with his stellar performance in the IPL, is another player who is getting attention. Karthik described his return to the national team as the most significant return of his career. The 37-year-old Cricketer was brought to the attention of the selectors by a handful of legendary performances in the role of ‘Finisher’ for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the death overs, Karthik scored 242 runs with a strike rate of over 220. Karthik is still the only player left in active cricket who played in India’s first Twenty20 match in history.
But how can Karthik be included in the Indian national team’s playing XI? After losing the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE last year, India has assigned Venkatesh Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rishabh Pant in the finisher role. Apart from them, the strong return of Hardik Pandya, who led the Gujarat Titans to victory, will pave the way for healthy competition in the finisher role. If given a chance against South Africa, Karthik will sure try to convince his selectors before the World Cup.
The shining of left-handed batters
There are a handful of players waiting to show their strength in the Indian batting line-up as well. In itself, the fans are waiting for a ‘left wave’ in the batting line-up. No one can forget that Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled India out of the top four right-handed batsmen in the last Twenty20 World Cup. Then in the next match against New Zealand, India unleashed the top order. Ishant Kishan joins Rahul to open the innings. But the move backfired.
After this, an attempt was made to revamp the batting line-up with the help of left-handers. Ishan Kishan’s opening against the West Indies and Sri Lanka was the rest of the effort. Despite being the most valuable player in the star auction, Ishan Kishan has been disappointed in the IPL. He scored 418 runs at an average of 32.15. Venkatesh Iyer scored 182 runs at an average of 16.55. Rishabh, who scored 340 runs at an average of 30.91, was the only batsman to score 50 runs.
KL Rahul, who excelled in the IPL was another expectation. In a batting line-up that includes KL Rahul, Rituraj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, and Deepak Hooda, India hopes that these left-handed batsmen will also excel. The strength of the left-handed batting unit ahead of the ODI World Cup will surely boost India’s overall performance.
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