The Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 is done and dusted and teams have emotionally moved on already. While India is swamped with a hectic schedule starting from the white ball series against New Zealand, the arch-rivals Australia and T20 World champions England are squaring off against each other in a One-day series.
This T20 World Cup would predominantly be considered, “The World Cup of Upsets” as many surprises unfolded along the way. Whether it is a gritty Dutch squad knocking South Africa out of the tournament or teams leaving out their trump cards. Whether is the home team failing to get past Super 12s, or two of the fortuitous teams playing the final.
The Indian Cricket Team was the most successful team advancing into the knockout stage, having won 4 out of their 5 games. While India was the favourite to face Pakistan in the final, the English openers had other arrangements.
In pursuit of 169, Captain Jos Buttler 80 (49) and Alex Hales 86 (47) completely demolished the Indian bowling line-up and elevated many questions. With four overs remaining, they accomplished the chase without losing a single wicket, making it to the championship game and ultimately taking it home.
Rather than bringing in Yuzvendra Chahal, the Indians decided to stick with their traditional formula of two off-spinners and that verdict cost them the World Cup, yet again. Axar Patel (0/30 in 4 overs) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0/27 in 2 overs) leaked runs and handed England an uncomplicated triumph. On a surface where Adil Rashid, the English leg break bowler, outfoxed the Indian top order with wrong-uns and googlies, Chahal would have been of use.
Mohammed Kaif Reckons India Missed The Turn of a Wrist Spinner
The Indian batter Mohammed Kaif pointed out that the absence of a wrist spinner like Yuzvendra Chahal blemished India’s chances at the recently concluded T20 World Cup.
The former believed Chahal would have been the game-changer for India, predominantly on stiff Australian surfaces and that only Captain Rohit Sharma and Head Coach Rahul Dravid can explain why he was sidelined.
The right-handed batter said, “Leg-spinners have a crucial role and every team plays a leg-spinner – be it England, Australia, or South Africa. Look at ICC bowling rankings and you will find that four to five leg-spinners are part of the top 10. Finger spinners don’t get much help in Australia. There is bounce; hence the wrist spinners come into play. Not playing Chahal was a big mistake. Only Rohit and Dravid can explain it.”
The right-arm leg break bowler was also not included in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad and had a poor run in the IPL the same year. In Chahal’s absence, Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar were catered into the squad considering their IPL performances. As the events unwrapped, both Chahar and Varun failed to claim a single scalp in the tournament. Kaif felt the selectors are often persuaded by IPL results.
“Varun Chakravarthy was picked for the last World Cup because he did well in the IPL that was held ahead of the tournament. The selectors get so influenced by IPL performances that they end up making mistakes. Chahal did not play last year, and this year too he was benched for the entire tournament,” he added.
This may come as a big surprise but India wasn’t the only side to bench a wrist spinner. The Proteas also followed a similar trend by giving their prime spinner Tabraiz Shamshi a limited number of chances.
While there is no evidence to support that Chahal would have been efficacious in Australia, let’s not forget that the 32-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in Indian Premier Leauge 2022, with 27 scalps in 17 innings and was going through a purple patch in his career.