It is no secret that India had a forgettable campaign at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. The team could not make it past the group stages in what was a relatively easier group. It suffered heavy losses in the hands of Pakistan and New Zealand. The team was dotted with superstars who were expected to bring their A-game on the pitch. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
However, the winds of change are already here. Virat Kohli who led the side in the tournament and Ravi Shastri who was the head coach has already stepped down from their positions. They have been replaced by Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma in their respective positions. The new era in Indian cricket has been ushered in. From here on, these two gentlemen will build a team that should be battle-hardened for next year’s ICC T20 world cup in Australia. The Indian team and management will consider this as their primary task at hand.
The team could see a massive rejig in the names that play T20Is for India. A complete overhaul of the way team is selected may also be observed. Test specialists and white ball specialists may be distinguished.
Therefore, while building a new team from the scratch, Dravid may bring in a few new faces and nurture them for the whole year. He would pick them and stick with them to instill confidence so that they pay rich dividends in the tournament. We look at 4 players who may be in Dravid’s scheme of things.
1. Prithvi Shaw
Shaw was unceremoniously dropped from the team after the first test in Australia last year. He has found it tough to get back in the squad. However, his performances in the IPL has shown why he is still one of the best limited-overs openers in the country. Dravid may go back to Shaw to open India’s batting and make him a T20Is mainstay.
2. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Gaikwad was exceptional in the IPL. He has already established why he is one of the best cricketing prospects in the country. His ability to anchor the innings at the beginning and change gears as the innings progresses is phenomenal. With the top order not performing consistently for India in big games, Dravid could make a radical shift to bring in Gaikwad and Shaw.
3. Venkatesh Iyer
The find of the season for Kolkata Knight Riders for this season, Iyer has already made his way into the T20I squad against New Zealand starting later this month. He was brilliant at the top of the order with Gill and scored 370 runs in the 10 matches he played. He averaged over 40 with bat and struck at around 130. He has also been a handy left-handed bowler picking up 3 wickets in this season. He could fit the role of the backup all-rounder in the team and would solve the team selection conundrum with relative ease.
4. Washington Sundar
Originally part of the T20 world cup squad, the young Sundar had to sit out because he suffered an untimely injury. He is one of India’s best off-spinners and his ability to bat well makes him a great long-term future candidate. If he continues to work on his bowling skills under Dravid, he will be extremely effective. He has already played 31 T20Is for the country and made substantial contributions.