Former India opener turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has questioned the selection of only four pacers in India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup which will be played in Australia later this year. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel are the four seamers in the 15-member Indian squad that was selected on Monday, September 12. Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar are named as the four reserve players as well.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “You have invested a lot in the faith that Bumrah will be back to prime fitness, not only fitness but also form and the same is true for Harshal Patel. I have a small reservation about Harshal – the sample size of match-winning performances is not there in international cricket. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have kept Bumrah or Harshal, you didn’t have too many options, but you could have kept one more fast bowler as part of this team because currently we are hoping that both will return fit and in form.”
Harshal Patel, who has earlier done well in subcontinental conditions, last played for India in the T20I series against England in July as well before getting injured. On the other hand, Bumrah has been out of action since the subsequent ODI series as well. He also added that Team India are taking a slight risk by having Arshdeep and Harshal both among their four seamers.
He again said: “Arshdeep Singh hasn’t done anything special with the new ball till now. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has disappointed a little with the old ball. So you have very simple options – Bhuvi with the new ball, Arsh with the old ball. You are expecting that Arshdeep Singh can be your gun death bowler. In my opinion, he is still not one. You have just one gun death bowler – that’s Jasprit Bumrah. You have one new-ball bowler – that’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar. You are taking a slight chance with the other two.”
However, he also questioned the selectors’ decision to pick Yuzvendra Chahal as the only ‘legitimate wicket-taking spinner’ in India’s squad. Alongside him, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin are the other two spinners in the 15-member squad whereas Ravi Bishoi has been picked as one of the four reserves as well.
He explained: “You have picked three spinners – an off-spinner, a leg-spinner and a left-arm spinner. So you have picked different-different options but Yuzi Chahal is the only legit wicket-taking option in T20 cricket. The others are defensive options – make no mistake, that is the truth. You can see the numbers for the last 12 months, IPL included for both of them – Axar and Ravichandran Ashwin.”
However, Chopra feels either Bishnoi or Kuldeep Yadav could have been picked in the main squad as another attacking spinner as well. He is also unsure if either Axar or Ashwin can perform well alongside Chahal.
“Ravi Bishnoi was a tempting option available to you. You are not thinking about Kuldeep at all, which is slightly disappointing, but he could also have been a wicket-taking option. But you didn’t think about either of them. It will be very interesting whether you will be able to play two out of the three spinners in the XI. Will you be able to play either Axar or Ravi (Ashwin) along with Yuzi Chahal – that’s going to be a big one,” Aakash Chopra concluded.