The T20 World Cup 2022 is just a few days away. The tournament, which will be played in Australia from October 16 to November 13, will begin with first-round matches that will feature eight teams divided into two groups. The top two sides from each group will progress to the Super 12 round and join the other eight teams that have already qualified for the same.
Of the teams that have directly reached the Super 12 round, Afghanistan, Australia, England, and New Zealand are in Group 1. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and South Africa have been placed in Group 2. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals.
All 16 nations that will be taking part in the T20 World Cup have announced their squads. However, teams have until October 9 to make changes to their squads, after which they'll need to have any squad changes sanctioned by the ICC.
On that note, we look at three players whose T20 World Cup 2022 spot has come under the scanner due to their poor recent performances.
#1 Temba Bavuma - South Africa
Temba Bavuma may have been named South Africa’s captain for the T20 World Cup, but his performances in the format have been so poor that had he not been the leader, he might not have even found a place in the 15-member squad for the ICC event.
The fact that he went unsold in the inaugural SA20, South Africa’s upcoming franchise T20 league, is an indication of his lack of reputation as a T20 star.
Looking at his T20I numbers, the 32-year-old has represented the Proteas in 26 matches, scoring 562 runs at an average of 25.54 and a below-par strike rate of 119.57. Despite being a top-order batter, Bavuma only has one fifty to his credit. Even his overall T20 strike rate is below 125.
In his last five T20Is, which have all incidentally been against India, he has registered scores of 10, 35, eight, eight not out and 0.
Following his duck in the opening T20I of the ongoing series against India, former South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini admitted that the skipper’s place for the T20 World Cup is not completely secure. He told ESPNcricinfo:
“It’s a tricky one. I don’t want to lie to you. Especially now that he is not part of the T20 league that has been announced in South Africa, that’s another pressure that comes back to him. The T20 World Cup is coming up. Who is going to be the captain? Is he going to stay as a captain or are they going to change and give it to someone else?”
#2 Aaron Finch - Australia
Like Bavuma, another captain’s spot for the T20 World Cup is also on shaky ground. He’s none other than the leader of the host team and the defending champions - Australia.
Aaron Finch has an impressive white-ball record, but his performances have slipped significantly over the last year. It was thus hardly surprising that he recently announced his retirement from ODIs.
His place in the team came under question during the last T20 World Cup as well in the UAE, but the criticism was muted since Australia ended up winning the crown. More than his poor form, it is the manner of Finch’s dismissals that hints towards a permanent decline. The 35-year-old is a regular candidate for lbw as he plants his feet in front of the stumps.
The tour of India has only made life tougher for Finch. While he failed to deliver with the bat, Cameron Green, opening in place of David Warner (rested), went absolutely berserk and cracked two scintillating fifties.
Selectors will certainly be forced to wonder how long they can carry on with a non-performing captain, especially with the T20 World Cup in sight.
#3 Bhuvneshwar Kumar - India
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's recent form has been a major headache for Team India. It has never been a secret that the pacer is more effective when there has been movement in the air or off the surface. However, he found a way to make an impact even otherwise with his variations and smart changes in pace, especially the knuckle ball.
The potency, however, has gone completely missing in the recent T20I matches that Bhuvneshwar has played. And that is not good news, so close to the T20 World Cup. He has been okay in his first spell, but his death overs have been a disaster. He has been so expensive that social media has turned him into a meme legend.
With reports coming in that Jasprit Bumrah is also unlikely to feature in the T20 World Cup due to a back stress fracture, Team India’s woes have only increased. Mohammed Shami could come in as a likely replacement for Bumrah.
The Indian selectors might also consider bringing in Deepak Chahar for Bhuvneshwar. Both are similar bowlers in nature, but Chahar has made a decent comeback from injury and is also a better option when it comes to batting.