By Vivek Prabhakar Singh
New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Former Indian women's team skipper Anjum Chopra is optimistic that Team India will do well in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, however, she added that its star players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli will have to be in their best form and also get adequate support from likes of all-rounder Hardik Pandya as the shortest format of the game is pretty unpredictable.
ICC T20 World Cup is set to begin from October 16 and will go on till November 13.
"We have already seen that the shortest format of the game is anybody's game. We saw that recently during the Asia Cup. India is a very good team. But to say that India has a great chance is saying that other teams do not, which is unfair to say I think. We want India to win every trophy, but it cannot happen easily. If it clean sweeps South Africa, it does not really matter because when you are in a different country, participating in an ICC event, it is a different ball game. Every game is going to be competitive and contested," said Anjum during an interview with ANI on Sunday.
"As a cricketer, we are supposed to be in form, score runs, take wickets and field well. It is our job as a player. Only if one is in form, then only he/she can survive in a playing eleven, otherwise, they have no business being there. For KL, Rohit and VK to be picked in a playing eleven, it is required that they are in best of their form."
"If you saw the Asia Cup, there is place and importance for each type of player, be it KL, Rohit, Pandya or Virat. You will need different kinds of batters to make sure that your team comes out of a certain situation. Virat or any of these stars brings an added smile to our faces by performing. I am a big fan of Virat and Rohit and them doing well and succeeding. But that does not mean that I am not a fan of Hardik. I hope they continue to deliver good and win matches," concluded the former Indian skipper.
India has had a lot of match practice ahead of the World Cup this year. They have won T20I series/matches against Australia, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka, Ireland and South Africa all year in a great manner. But to the shock of many, T20I delivered its dosage of unpredictability when the Asia Cup 2022 defending champions India could not even make it to the final of the tournament, finishing at third in the Super Four phase.
India's T20 WC campaign will start against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 23 and will be looking forward to avenging that ten-wicket loss last year that ultimately played a big role in them getting knocked in the Super 12 stage itself.
Men in Blue are placed in Group 2 along with Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and two teams (B1 and A2) who will qualify for Super 12 after round one. India will be looking forward to lifting the trophy this time under new skipper and head coach, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.
For this, it will be important for stars like KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Surkyakumar Yadav to deliver. While Pandya (436 runs and 12 wickets) and Suryakumar (682 T20I runs in 2022) have been in an amazing form all year, a lot of eyes will be on the highly-hyped top order.
Ever since his return to cricket after a month-long break, Virat has shown heavy glimpses of his vintage self. He ended the Asia Cup 2022 as a second-best batter, with 276 runs in five innings with one ton and two half-century. In the series against Australia that followed, he hit 76 runs in three innings, including a match-winning 63 in the final T20I at Hyderabad.
In eight innings so far since his return, he has had a century and three fifties under his belt. Overall this year, Virat has scored 433 runs at an average of 43.30, with one century and four fifties in 12 innings.
On the other hand, in 20 T20Is this year, skipper Rohit Sharma has managed 497 runs at an average of 27.61 with two fifties.
KL Rahul has blown hot and cold since his return after injury in Asia Cup. In eight T20Is this year, he has scored 198 runs at an average of 24.75 and managed to score two half-centuries.
Team India's next assignment before World Cup is a home series against South Africa, which will start from September 28 and will feature three T20Is and three ODIs.
India squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh. Standby players - Mohd. Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.
India squad for South Africa T20Is: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah. (ANI)