Team India played a host of T20Is in 2022, including the T20 World Cup in Australia. Although they enjoyed a lot of success, a Super 4-stage finish at the Asia Cup and a semi-final exit from the T20 World Cup made it sour.
One of the reasons behind the Men in Blue not going the distance in the two marquee events was their bowling unit not being able to stand up under pressure. Of course, they were laid low by Jasprit Bumrah's untimely back stress fracture, but the returns of the likes of Harshal Patel, Axar Patel, and Yuzvendra Chahal left a lot to be desired.
There were some positive takeaways too, of course, from 2022. As the team builds towards a transition in T20Is they will look to start afresh at the dawn of the new year.
Before that though, let us rank India's five best bowlers in T20Is in 2022.
#5 Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin (6/10)
Chahal may have bagged 23 wickets in T20Is in 2022, but his dwindling returns opened the doors for his Rajasthan Royals (RR) teammate Ravichandran Ashwin. This resulted in Chahal being benched throughout the T20 World Cup, with the Men in Blue opting for the veteran off-spinner instead.
Neither had a standout year though. Ashwin was at his defensive best heading into the T20 World Cup but his returns took a steep hit in the tournament. That reflects in his overall bowling average of 34.00 in T20Is in 2022, apart from just 11 wickets in 14 innings.
Chahal might have had better numbers but the lack of control was visible to be seen, forcing the team management to confine him to the bench. He didn't show any signs of improvement in New Zealand either and hence, the two RR spinners are tied for the fifth spot.
If anything, it sums up where a good part of it came apart for India in the tournament that mattered the most as they exited in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.
#4 Ravi Bishnoi (7/10)
That Ravi Bishnoi didn't make India's main squad for the T20 World Cup was met with a lot of flak. Chahal's dwindling form, coupled with Bishnoi's stellar showing in the Asia Cup game against Pakistan, saw calls for his inclusion grow louder, although what happened was otherwise.
What's more gobsmacking though is how he has been discarded altogether now from India's T20I setup. Having debuted at home against the West Indies, the leggie from Rajasthan bagged 16 wickets in 10 matches at an economy rate of 7.08.
His ability to fire it in and bowl good defensive overs makes him the perfect modern T20 bowler. Even in hindsight, he was a big miss for India at the T20 World Cup.
#3 Hardik Pandya (7.5/10)
Hardik Pandya's return to the Indian white-ball setup was one of the biggest positive takeaways for the Men in Blue in 2022. The Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper played his part with both the bat and ball and is now in line to become India's full-time T20I captain.
What stood out during the tour of the West Indies was the manner in which Hardik played with the batters' minds and bowled to a frequently changing field. Having bowled decently as well as his ability to strike crucial blows at the right time, he finished 2022 with 20 T20I wickets at an economy rate of 8.50.
Hardik delivered crucial blows in two crunch games against Pakistan in both the Asia Cup as well as the T20 World Cup. He continues to enhance his reputation as India's most valuable player in both white-ball formats, particularly in T20Is.
#2 Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8/10)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar might have had a tough time bowling death overs in the Asia Cup and thereafter, but he had a fine 2022 with the ball in T20Is. He was at his accurate best at the T20 World Cup as well, until he ran into a rampaging Alex Hales and Jos Buttler in the semi-finals.
With 37 wickets in 31 innings at an economy rate of 6.98, Bhuvneshwar was the fourth-highest wicket-taker overall in T20Is in 2022 and India's highest.
He may have been discarded from the setup for the series against Sri Lanka but the veteran has been a phenomenal servant of Indian cricket and remains an option to fall back on if needed.
#1 Arshdeep Singh (9/10)
Beyond doubt, India's standout bowler in T20Is in 2022 and their best breakout performer. Arshdeep Singh's stellar showing in the IPL meant that higher honors were never far away. Once he got the opportunity, he hammered the door down and made his spot in the playing XI permanent.
Sooner than later, he became the most reliable death-overs option for the Men in Blue, particularly with Jasprit Bumrah's injury ruling him out of the T20 World Cup. Be it swinging the new ball in the powerplay or firing those yorkers at the death, Arshdeep was always there to answer the captain's call.
Thirty-three wickets in 21 matches at an economy rate of 8.17, apart from striking once every 13.3 deliveries, are a fair reflection of Arshdeep's breakout year. Add a sound temperament to go with it and it's clear that the Punjab lad is here to stay.
Is Arshdeep Singh the next big thing in Indian fast-bowling as far as T20Is are concerned? Have your say in the comments section below!
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