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3 Potential IPL Wildcards for WT20

Written by: Prithvi (@Puneite_)

The big event is less than 7 months away from now and even after India’s undefeated home dominance where they whitewashed New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka, there are some holes to fix in the T20 format. India are scheduled to play a lot of T20I matches before the World Cup. This includes a 5-match series against South Africa at home, 2 games in Ireland, 3 games in England, 5 games in the West Indies, and the Asia Cup. This means every Indian player who is in contention for the World Cup will play at least 30-35 matches including the IPL. This international schedule allows the management and captain to experiment with everyone in specific roles without constant pressure to chop and change. Workload and bio-bubble fatigue makes it increasingly difficult to play all 3 formats, and those who do so are rested from time to time. The recent series against Sri Lanka is a perfect example.  

Last WT20 was a team filled with heavyweights on paper and they were expected to be tournament favourites even with a few deserving players missing the bus. However, they lost yet again in an ICC event continuing their trophy drought. It appears that at least 10-12 spots are locked up for the WT20. Some deserving players will again be excluded. Here are a few players who have done well in the IPL in the past and may be able to make it to the WT20 team if injuries occur or players suddenly lose form.

1. Prithvi Shaw

Opening is sorted with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma at the top. India have tried Ishan Kishan and even had Ruturaj Gaikwad in the squad this home season. But it’s baffling how a player of Shaw’s calibre has fallen out of the favour of the selectors and management. Injuries and fitness are a concern regarding him. It is said that Shaw even failed the yo-yo test at NCA last week. What makes Shaw different from the current crop of openers? Since Shaw’s IPL debut in 2018, he has scored 913 runs in the Powerplay at a whopping SR of 146.8. No one has scored more runs than him at a better SR. The next best on this list is Jos Butler with 622 runs at an SR of 149. There is a vast difference between him and others regarding the scoring rate in the first six overs. T20s are fast evolving, you have to cash in on every delivery and more so when the field restrictions are on. His numbers against leg spin have improved in the last 2 years. He strikes at 200 against them. Shaw has been consistently knocking on the doors with his performances in domestic. In last year’s Vijay Hazare trophy, he created a record of scoring most runs in an edition with 827 runs at a strike rate of 139. He was also the Man of The Match in the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka last year. Shaw should definitely get a run at the top in any one of the series if KL or Rohit get rested.


2. Sanju Samson

The wicketkeeper batter from Kerala has been around for quite some time. Often criticized for his inconsistency, he has exhibited great improvement in the last 2 seasons of the IPL. He used to start the season strong and then post a string of low scores. He is the only middle order batter apart from AB de Villiers to score 3 centuries as a non-opener. Since 2018, Samson has scored over 1600 runs at a scoring rate of 144. Only Rishabh Pant had a better SR than him among the Indian batters. These numbers are too good to ignore for a middle order batter. His record against leg spin are second to none, he strikes at 144 with only 3 dismissals in the last 2 seasons. “His backfoot play is superb. Some of the shots you must have seen during the IPL – the pick-up pull, the cut shots, standing and delivering over the bowler’s head – those kinds of shots are not easy to play. I believe when you go to Australia you need that kind of shot-making ability. Samson definitely has it in him. I just wish him the best and hope that he utilises potential to the maximum” This is what skipper Rohit had to say about Sanju which clearly indicates he is in India’s plans for the World Cup. He has scored over 900 runs at an SR of almost 150 since 2018. These numbers are a testimony to Rohit’s statement. India may have plenty of selection headaches in middle order choosing from SKY, Pant, Hardik, Jadeja, S Iyer, V Iyer and Sanju himself.

3. Avesh Khan

He broke the headlines when he became the most expensive uncapped player in the history of IPL when he was bought by LSG for 10 crores. Last IPL was a breakthrough season for this pacer from Madhya Pradesh. He took the 2nd most wickets (24) at an esteemed economy of 7.4. That was the 2nd best economy for a pacer after Siraj and only second to Yuzi Chahal if we consider minimum 15 wickets criteria.  He took 10 wickets at the death at an economy of 8.9. It’s unfortunate that both Siraj and Avesh don’t get regularly featured in the XI for India. Mohammad Siraj is the most improved bowler in the past 2 years with an economy of 7.4 and an economy of 8.2 at the death. His powerplay numbers are even more impressive with 11 wickets at 6.6 economy. Bumrah, Siraj and Avesh can form a great bowling attack in Australia for the World Cup.

Complete List of Odds of all IPL Teams

Mumbai Indians – 5.50

Delhi Capitals – 6.00

Chennai Super Kings – 7.00

Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8.00

Punjab Kings – 8.00

Kolkata Knight Riders – 9.00

Rajasthan Royals – 10.00

Lucknow Super Giants – 11.00

Gujarat Titans – 13.00

Sunrisers Hyderabad – 21.00