Rohit Sharma Says India Focusing On Testing Bench For T20 World Cup

By Dhanu Delphi on November 7, 2019

India have had great success in the last couple of years playing test cricket, which is why they are ranked as the number one test team in the world and sit on top of the World Test Championship rankings. They did not win the 2019 ICC World Cup, but have still enjoyed good success in the ODI format and currently rank second in the ICC ODI rankings with only World Cup champions England ahead of them. However, T20 cricket hasn’t been good to India recently.

India Struggling In T20 Cricket

When you look at India’s performance in T20 cricket, you immediately see that the team has struggled in recent times. India has won just 2 out of their last 5 T20 series during the last 12 months and currently sits in fifth place on the ICC T20 rankings. Those results are certainly not impressive, given the fact that the T20 World Cup is less than a year away.

The two T20 series that they have won in the last 12 months is against the West Indies. They have series losses to New Zealand and Australia, and a drawn series against South Africa.

India are currently playing a three-match T20 series against Bangladesh at home. It is quite possible that they could end up losing or drawing this T20 series. Bangladesh were clearly the better team in the first match. They are keen on wrapping up the second T20 game and the series. However, there is a strong possibility that the second T20 game in Rajkot on November 7 gets rained out. This is due to an impending storm.

This would make the third and final game a must win for India in order to draw the series. If they end up losing, it would be yet another series loss in the T20 format.

India Testing Bench Strength In T20 Format 

Rohit Sharma, who is the captain for the T20 series, says he is not worried about the recent results in T20 cricket. Sharma, who is standing in for Kohli, says that India has chosen to use the T20 format to test their bench strength. This gives some of the fringe players a chance to play international cricket and make a case to be included in the ODI and Test teams.

India has made it a habit in recent times to rest most of their senior bowlers from the T20 format. On occasion, the selectors also decide to give some of the senior batsmen a rest. Therefore, the T20 side rarely plays at full strength. Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav are not present in the current T20 squad that is playing against Bangladesh.

India have chosen to give new players like Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, Rahul Chahar and Mayank Markande a chance to play T20 cricket. They have also tended to give inexperienced players like Khaleel Ahmed, Krunal Pandya and Shreyas Iyer more opportunities at the T20 level. Not all of these players have performed as well as they would have liked. But the selectors are being patient and giving them time to find their feet.

R Sharma Not Concerned About T20 Defeats

Sharma believes that if India plays at full strength in the T20 format, they will definitely have better results. However, he believes it is important for the selectors to test the bench strength ahead of the T20 World Cup next year. It will help finalize which players make the cut for the T20 World Cup.

India are looking to find the right balance between youth and experience. Therefore, they will use the next couple of T20 series to chop and change before picking 15 players. These players will make the T20 World Cup squad.