After what can only be described as a whirlwind second leg of IPL 2021 for Kolkata Knight Riders’ Venkatesh Iyer, it was quite bizarre that the 26-year-old was asked to stay back as a net bowler for India’s T20 World cup campaign (though the net bowlers were eventually sent back) for Iyer had a stellar IPL with the bat scoring 370 runs at 41.11. Be that as it may post India’s T20 World Cup debacle, Iyer finds a place – deservedly at that – in the Indian squad for the New Zealand T20I series at home, alongside other IPL standouts – Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Avesh Khan.
With senior players rested, the new-look team under the leadership of Rohit Sharma will be looking to lift the team’s morale after they were knocked out of the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup. Amidst calls for a fresh approach and change in top management (Rahul Dravid will be replacing Ravi Shastri as the coach) inclusion of fresh faces does signal that India has pressed the reset button with an aim to do well in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.
Harshal Patel won the Purple Cap in this season’s IPL and it is no mean feat for the 31-year-old Haryana cricketer who took quite a while to make a mark at the highest level. He made his IPL debut a long back (2012 for RCB), but it almost took him nine years to come to the party. As IPL began this year under the shadow of the pandemic in Chennai, he made an instant impact in the opening match against Mumbai Indians, picking up a five-for. This was the first such action against the might of MI which boasts of an excellent top order.
Nortje dominated the list of fastest deliveries in IPL 2021 early on, then came Lockie Ferguson and in just three matches, 21-year-old right-arm pacer from Jammu and Kashmir Umran Malik turned the list around, and turned a few heads as well, clocking 152.95 kmph. In the three matches he played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Malik rushed the best of the batters, and even though he does not have much in terms of T20 experience, he has been picked for India A purely on the basis of the potential he showed during IPL. He has played eight T20s in his career so far where he impressed many with 11 wickets under his kitty at an economy rate of 8.53.
While, in the only List A match, he failed to make an impact where he leaked 98 runs and picked just one wicket. He also traveled with the Indian team in T20 World Cup as a net bowler. The youngster has risen through the ranks despite humble beginnings. His father owns a small fruit shop in Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar area. On his T20 debut, he picked up 3/24 against Railways which included the wicket of former India player Karn Sharma, who was beaten for sheer pace. He has taken six wickets in four games in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy though J&K finished last in Group C.
Another talking point from the selection was the return of Yuzvendra Chahal to the T20I setup and the ousted of Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy. While Chahar finds a place in the India A squad, after playing just a lone match in the T20 World Cup, that too a dead rubber against Namibia, where he returned 0/30, Chakravarthy, the mystery spinner who was the talk of the town ahead of the T20 World Cup, has been completely ignored after a rather tame campaign in the UAE. The fact that Chahal should have been part of the T20 WC squad right from the start was always up for debate,