With the entire cricketing fraternity recovering from the Covid hit, Cricket-2.0 is on the cards. Not only will there be a renewal of certain rules and biosecurity norms, but the cricket calendar will also be revamped to cater to the massive losses suffered by various cricket boards across the globe. A highly plausible outcome of this restructuring would be tight schedules which might see the same teams playing Test and T20I on the same day. While there are still a lot of unanswered questions to this proposal of simultaneous Test and T20I fixtures, but this puts in an interesting perspective around building different squads for different formats. Barring West Indies, there are hardly any teams who have an exclusive T20I squad. India, Australia, England, and all other major nations have multi-format guys as the backbones of their teams.
Keeping in mind the huge pool of talent India has produced, we have always faced trouble in building specialist teams. The likes of Kohli, Rohit, Bumrah, Jadeja are essential parts of every Indian squad that has been built in the recent past. Here we take a moment to look at the best possible 15 men Test and T20I squads for India if they have to play both the formats simultaneously on the same day.
Keeping in mind the importance of the World Test Championship, selectors wouldn’t want to tinker much with the conventional Test squad even though it might imply the likes of Kohli, Rohit, Bumrah having to compromise on a few T20I fixtures.
If 2019 was to be named after a cricketer, then it would be none other than Rohit Sharma. Following up his great stint at the Cricket World cup, 2019 saw the Renaissance of Rohit Sharma’s Test career with a home test average of 88.33, better than all his other Indian counterparts. Despite his heroics in T20Is, the selectors would be more inclined to give Rohit a shot in the Test squad keeping in mind his potential to play the long innings. Alongside Rohit, would feature Mayank Agarwal which is an absolute no-brainer considering temperament and class shown by him in the longer format of the game.
Cheteshwar Pujara is an automatic pick in the test squad given his consistent performances for the team home and abroad. Despite Virat Kohli’s much-needed presence in the T20I squad, the importance of a World Test Championship at stake puts this king-of-all formats into the test squad at his most desirable number 4 slot. Adding solidity to the batting line up would be Ajinkya Rahane, his enormous experience and ability to negate swing bowling in foreign conditions is a major add-on.
Selectors have shown enormous confidence in Wriddhiman Saha who according to the captain is currently the “best wicket-keeper in the world” and would definitely be India’s first choice keeper; his ability to add a few quick extra runs with the tail would definitely be an add-on. Adding balance to the side would be the world’s no. 3 all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja followed by Ravichandran Ashwin adding the solidity to the batting line up apart from loads of experience he brings in to the test side with his shrewd bowling tactics.
Despite Jasprit Bumrah’s death bowling prowess in the T20I his ability to provide the early breakthroughs in Tests earns him a position as the frontline seamer in the test squad ably supported by the likes of Ishant Sharma with his experience and Mohammed Shami with his ability to clean up the tail.
India has the extremely talented Prithvi Shaw as the substitute opener, Rishabh Pant as the backup wicket-keeper, Hanuma Vihari and Umesh Yadav on the bench as suitable replacements in the playing XI.
Playing XI: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, M Shami
Bench: Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Umesh Yadav
Despite the importance of the World test Championship Indian selectors can’t shy away from the shorter format of the game, keeping in mind the T20 World cup 2021 (to be held in India).
K.L Rahul has been the man to look up to in the limited-overs fixture for India in the recent past. He has made the most of every opportunity in limited-overs cricket thrown at him, and that has earned him the spot of India’s first-choice opener in T20Is. His reasonable wicket-keeping skills adding the much-needed flavor to it. His calm head and in-depth understanding of the game could go a long way to him being a strong contender for captaincy. Going by India’s success mantra of left and right-hand combination, Dhawan would open with Rahul in the T20Is. Having shown great character and the ability to accelerate the innings anytime Shreyas Iyer is an obvious pick in the Indian T20I squad. With his ability to rotate the strike and provide the much-needed support to the middle order Manish Pandey will find a spot in the squad.
With the ability to finish games Dinesh Karthik would be our first choice wicket-keeper followed by the big-hitting Hardik Pandya who not only fits into the role of a finisher but as a bowler can also prove to be a partnership breaker in the middle overs. Washington Sundar, with his ability to bowl in the powerplay, not only provides the fifth bowler option along with Pandya but also adds to the batting depth much needed in subcontinent pitches.
A huge vacuum would be felt owing to the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, but to make up for it we decide to go with three seamers and one spinner in the playing XI. Having impressed everyone with his ability to swing the ball Deepak Chahar would be India’s frontline seamer in the T20Is. Bringing in raw pace into the team would be Navdeep Saini who has shown signs of improvement over the limited time he has got on the field. However, his lack of international experience can be compensated by none other than Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who can open the bowling with Deepak Chahar and can also contain the run-scoring in the death overs. Finally, Yuzvendra Chahal adds the much-needed icing on the cake with his attacking spin bowling which can prove to be detrimental in home conditions.
With Sanju Samson providing the option of a backup wicket-keeper, Suryakumar Yadav fitting into the middle order, Kuldeep Yadav providing the additional spinner option and Shardul Thakur, a substitute for the seamers in foreign conditions this squad has a very strong bench strength.
Playing XI: KL Rahul(C), Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendar Chahal.
Bench: Kuldeep Yadav, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur