Who Will Be Indian Cricket Team's Trump Card in ICC T20 World Cup in the Middle East?

© AFP 2023 / JEWEL SAMADIndia's captain Virat Kohli plays a shot during the fifth and final Twenty20 international cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on March 20, 2021.
India's captain Virat Kohli plays a shot during the fifth and final Twenty20 international cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on March 20, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.10.2021
With the exception of their historic triumph in its inaugural edition in 2007, the ICC T20 World Cup has been a thorn in the flesh of Indians. "The Men in Blue" have struggled in subsequent versions of the prestigious tournament, losing to Sri Lanka in the final in 2014 and in the semis at home in 2016.
India are one of the favourites to win the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman due to their star-studded batting line-up. The likes of skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma, opener K.L. Rahul, and the explosive Suryakumar Yadav can dismantle the best bowling attacks in the world. But can these batsmen actually win this tournament for their ardent cricket-loving fans?
The T20 World Cup is the premier tournament of cricket's shortest format. The sport has three formats - Test matches which last for five days, One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and T20s (20-overs per side games).

Sputnik takes a look at the men who could bring an end to India's long trophy drought in the premier competition of cricket's shortest format.
Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is known as the "Hitman" for a reason. Like any other limited-overs tournament, he is likely to be a big threat to any opposing team, especially if he gets on with his game right at the start of the innings.

The Mumbai batsman can demolish any attack in the world, but what makes him even more dangerous is his ability to pulverise both spin and pace bowlers with equal ease.

Moreover, the Indian cricket vice-captain has multiple weapons in his arsenal and can shift gears according to the demands of the situation.

But since Rohit is an old warhorse, almost all rival teams are aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Still, he's one player who has the ability to single-handedly win the tournament for India.

Sanjiv Sharma, who represented India in both Test and ODI matches in the 1980s and 1990s says that Rohit's role at the top of the order will be crucial in the tournament.

"If Rohit survives the first few overs, it would be tough to stop him from making a huge score".
"Like we saw in the 2019 One-Day International (ODI) World Cup in England, where he scored 5 hundreds, Rohit will be the man leading India's charge and certainly has all the ingredients to emerge as the player of the tournament in the UAE and Oman", Sanjiv told Sputnik on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli

Though King Kohli (as Virat is described by many of his fans) has announced that he will quit India team's captaincy after the T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, he may be eager to close one of the chapters of his cricketing career in style.

While he has struggled to find his rhythm and form of late, considering he hasn't scored a century in international cricket since November 2019, no side should forget that he's the only player to have a batting average of over 50 in all formats of the game.

Furthermore, Virat relishes the T20 challenge. While he believes in playing risk free cricket in Test matches, Kohli is exactly the opposite in T20s.
The Delhi-born cricketer doesn't hesitate to take the aerial route in the shortest format, and can go into overdrive while taking opposing bowlers to the cleaners.

Unlike Sanjiv, who picked Rohit as the batsman to watch, ex-India spinner Gopal Sharma had a different take on the subject. According to him, Virat will be the main batsman for India in the T20 World Cup.

"While Rohit is the most dangerous batsman in ODIs, for me, Kohli is the best in T20s. Just look at his average and strike rate, also he's now free from the pressure of captaincy and that's why I see him as the man who could win the event for India", Gopal told Sputnik on Tuesday.
Varun Chakravarthy

Kolkata Knight Riders' mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy is being dubbed as India's "real trump card" in the tournament.

As per Sanjiv Sharma and Gopal Sharma, Chakravarthy's ability to outfox batsmen with a wide variety of balls makes him a dangerous proposition, even for the best in the game.

Chakravarthy has troubled the likes of Kohli, South African cricketer AB de Villiers, and Rohit Sharma with his loopy and spinning deliveries, but his biggest strength is that the batter simply doesn't know which way the ball will turn.

And when a batsman doesn't know whether the ball will come in or move away, he remains indecisive.
Chakravarthy can provide breakthroughs to India during the middle overs or early on if he gets the chance to bowl at the start of the innings, and also succeed in containing the flow of runs.

According to ex-India spinner Gopal Sharma, Chakravarthy would be Kohli's real trump card in the T20 World Cup. "It is extremely tough to read him in the air and even off the pitch."
"The batsmen will find it extremely tough to deal with him, especially in the Middle East, where the pitches will assist spin from ball one", he added.

Sanjiv agreed with Gopal's assessment as he backed Chakravarthy to perform well in the tournament.

"Chakravarthy has an aura of a mystery bowler, he's like Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka, someone who can run through opposition teams within a few balls and can turn the match in India's favour pretty quickly", Sanjiv concluded.
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