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Thursday, February 22, 2024

T20 World Cup: India, Pakistan and Fast-bowling Teasers

New Delhi: The ICC T20 World Cup is really beginning to become quite a quiz for the Indian cricket fans. It seems that back issues for Indian fast bowlers are taking the shape of an epidemic with reserves being now being called up for those who were in reserves to start with. As India begin their 10-day countdown to their first match, against Pakistan on October 23 at the sprawling Melbourne Cricket Ground, we still don’t know the exact combination of the seam-up department, as it seems that anyone who can hold a ball is being sent off to Australia.Also Read – India to Travel to Pakistan For Asia Cup 2023 – Report

It all started with Bumrah being declared unfit and ruled out, but then quickly, the board hastened to add that nothing was final. Then he was really found to be unfit and eventually, reluctantly, was ruled out of the World Cup, once again. Also Read – India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2022: Rain Likely to Play Spoilsport at MCG; Early Weather Forecast Prediction For Oct. 23 Get Fans Nervous

Immediately, the Pandora’s Box opened. Along with the sense of alarm and almost hopelessness among the fans, there was also a major quiz about who will replace Bumrah. Also Read – Rohit Sharma's Form to Jasprit Bumrah Replacement; Concerns For India Ahead of Pakistan T20 World Cup 2022 Game

Names were thrown up thick and fast, right from Mohammad Shami to even Umesh Yadav was brought in for the two series against Australia and South Africa, for what reason no one still knows.

Even among the reserves, Deepak Chahar soon fell on the wayside with yet another stiff back. So, it was time to call up those not even in the reserves.

The original squad did leave with three seamers, in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh.

Thereafter, as we now know, Shami, who was dropped from the original squad, is after all going to Australia, as also Mohammed Siraj, who was Man of the Series in the One-Day International matches against South Africa, as well as Shardul Thakur.

Then we hear that Umran Malik and Kuldeep Sen, who were supposed to head Down Under as net bowlers, were still in India (and reportedly to stay in India), thanks to visa issues. This led to further

names being thrown up – Chetan Sarkariya and Mukesh Chaudhary – to go as net bowlers.

All in all, we have effectively many bowlers being named and dropped or replaced, in a sense of uncertainty akin to a hyper teenager’s shopping list. As of now, Shami is Bumrah’s replacement, but you really never know till the team gets to the field.

Pakistan Panic

The tri-series involving hosts New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh, currently underway, isn’t looking so great for Pakistan now. For all the hype surrounding the team with its tearaway fast bowlers and the fiery duo of Babar Azam and Mahammad Rizwan, Pakistan aren’t winning as many matches as they would hope.

On top of all this Shaheen Shah Afridi was declared unfit for the World Cup, till the time when the Pakistanis lost by nine wickets to New Zealand.

Almost immediately, Afridi was declared fit, with special mention of the match against India. Whether this has to do with the overall plan to win the Cup, or just the India game, we will find out soon.

Sub-continental cricket is never short of drama, so this is nothing new. Much drama always happens, especially before any big tournament, as is now being enacted. But that is what we presume makes it all such fun, or generates so much angst.

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