T20 World Cup: Six Indian stars who will be playing in the World T20 for the first time
Several Indian superstars including KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will be playing in the T20 World Cup for the first time
The last T20 World Cup was held in 2016 in India. A long time has flown by since then and several promising cricketers have risen to the fore in Indian cricket. The current generation is spoilt for choice when it comes to quality and depth.
Many of these stars who now occupy important positions in the starting XI will be playing in the T20 World Cup for the very first time in their careers. Let's discuss more about them below:
Since making his international debut for India in 2014, KL Rahul has gone on to become a household name and is a behemoth batter – one of the best in the world when it comes to limited-overs cricket. The 29-year-old from Karnataka has impeccable numbers in T20I cricket. Having played 49 matches, he has amassed 1557 runs at an average of 40 and a strike rate of 142.
Rahul has also been a force to be reckoned with in the Indian Premier League, especially in the last four seasons. Since IPL 2018, he has collected 2548 runs at an average of 56.62. Even though his intent and lack of initiative in the powerplay, especially since becoming the captain of Punjab Kings has come under question, KL Rahul still has a healthy strike rate close to 140. He even won the Orange Cap in IPL 2020.
The wicket-keeper batter is expected to be opening the batting for India in the T20 World Cup alongside Rohit Sharma and he showed glimpses of scary he can be during the warm-up matches.
From being called a callous, careless player to becoming a blockbuster batter in all three formats, Rishabh Pant has come a long way. The 24-year-old made his T20I debut for India in 2017 and has been groomed to become the longtime successor to MS Dhoni.
Pant has had an incredible 2021. He was the mastermind in the historic Test victories against Australia and England. The dynamic wicket-keeper batter also took over the captaincy of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 and finished third this season.
When in the groove, few cricketers can match the tempo at which Rishabh Pant scores runs.
Having been a beast in domestic cricket as well as the IPL since 2018, Suryakumar Yadav's long-awaited international debut finally arrived earlier this year. Mumbai Indians have been extremely consistent over the last few years and even won their record fifth IPL title in UAE in 2020. Suryakumar Yadav, also called SKY, played a major role behind that success. He has scored 1733 runs in the IPL since 2018 at an average of 31.5 and at a strike rate of 137.53.
Having played four T20Is since making his debut for Team India, SKY has amassed 139 runs at an average of 46.33 and at a strike rate of 169.51. He has notched up two half-centuries already in those four games.
Much like his teammate Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan has also been an incredible part of the successful Mumbai Indians middle order. In fact, Suryakumar and Ishan made their white-ball debuts for India in the same series against England after a top-notch IPL 2020 season.
Kishan scored 516 runs in the IPL 2020 tournament held in UAE where Mumbai Indians lifted their fifth trophy. He had an average of 57.33 and a strike rate of 145.76 in that competition. Although the 23-year-old had a relatively quiet IPL season this time around, he showed his immense class and potential in the final match against Sunrisers Hyderabad and brought up 84 runs in 32 balls. Kishan has also been tremendous in the warm-up fixtures. He will be competing for a place in the middle-order alongside his Mumbai Indians teammate Suryakumar Yadav.
Everything Shardul Thakur touches recently turns into gold. Initially included among the reserves, Shardul was a last-minute addition to the main team due to questions surrounding Hardik Pandya's ability to bowl.
Thakur has had an incredible 2021. He starred for India in the Test series against Australia and England and was also the highest wicket-taker for Chennai Super Kings who emerged as the winners of IPL 2021. Shardul picked up 21 wickets in 16 matches, including a match-winnning three-wicket-haul in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Ever since making his debut for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020, Varun Chakravarthy has gone from an anonymous name to India's most reliant spin bowler for the upcoming T20 World Cup. He made the most out of the turn on pitches in UAE during IPL 2020 and the second leg of IPL 2021 and was the best bowler for KKR.
The mystery spinner has taken batters by surprise. He has picked up 35 wickets in just two seasons of the IPL and an average economy rate of 6.70 in the shortest format of the sport is absolutely fantastic!
Besides the aforementioned players Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, and Axar Patel who are included in the main and reserves squad will also be participating in the T20 World Cup for the first time!