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IND vs SA 2022: 3 Indian players who desperately need to spend some time in the middle ahead of the T20 World Cup

Dinesh Karthik plays a specific role, one that has perhaps become too specific
Dinesh Karthik plays a specific role, one that has perhaps become too specific

Team India coasted to an eight-wicket victory in the opening T20I against South Africa, but that also meant that a few key players didn't get to fine-tune their preparations for the T20 World Cup.

The marquee ICC event is scheduled to begin next month in Australia, and India will play only two more T20Is in the lead-up to the tournament. They've had a good run of bilateral shortest-format games over the last year or so, but a combination of constant personnel changes and questions over player availability have left the side a little underprepared for the biggest stage.

Here are three Indian players who desperately need to spend some time in the middle ahead of the T20 World Cup.


#3 Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah missed the Thiruvananthapuram T20I with a back problem
Jasprit Bumrah missed the Thiruvananthapuram T20I with a back problem

This is a tough one to handle for India since Jasprit Bumrah has been dealing with a couple of injuries over the last few months. They need to ensure that he is at his fittest for the T20 World Cup, while at the same time allowing him to find his bowling rhythm.

Bumrah missed the opening game of the T20I series against Australia, with the team management insisting that it was a precautionary measure. But the speedster, after playing the next two games, complained of back pain and was rested for the first T20I against South Africa.

There's not much India can do if Bumrah isn't fit enough to play but they need him to get back to his best, something that won't be possible without at least a couple of games under his belt.


#2 Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant hasn't batted in each of his last two T20Is
Rishabh Pant hasn't batted in each of his last two T20Is

Rishabh Pant has played 18 T20Is in 2022, and he has faced more than 15 balls in an innings only six times. Some of that is down to his rather indifferent form, but it is also because India have used him at No. 5, where he hasn't had the chance to get set and go big.

Playing the second T20I against Australia, Pant wasn't needed with the bat as the innings lasted only eight overs due to a wet outfield. It seemed like the three T20Is against South Africa, in Hardik Pandya's absence, would help him stake a claim for a spot in the playing XI for the T20 World Cup.

But Pant once again sat in the dugout throughout as India opted to bowl first and lost only two wickets in the chase. Part of the squad as one of two keepers, the Men in Blue will need the 24-year-old to be ready for the big occasion. And the only way to do that is by giving him the chance to play a long(er) innings or two.


#1 Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik has faced only a handful of balls over the last month
Dinesh Karthik has faced only a handful of balls over the last month

Dinesh Karthik isn't someone who plays long innings these days, but the number of balls he has faced over the last month or so is abysmal even for him.

In the Asia Cup, Karthik played three games, facing one ball against Pakistan and then not getting to bat against Hong Kong and Afghanistan. In the three-match series against Australia, the veteran keeper took strike against eight deliveries, remaining not out twice and impressing with a four and a six to seal the second T20I.

Karthik's usual entry point means that he has never been at the crease for more than a few overs, but he has not been exposed to certain scenarios that might need his experience during the T20 World Cup. India might want to move him up the order and help him get some time in the middle.

Poll : Should India move Dinesh Karthik up the order against South Africa?

Yes

No

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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