The 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League culminated with Gujarat Titans clinching their first title after beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets. The limitation on the number of foreign players forced the franchise to dig deeper into the domestic talent pool. While some of the young players took the tournament by storm, many seasoned players had a terrible campaign. If the performance in IPL is to be considered as a sole measure for selecting a T20 World Cup squad, players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma won’t be able to make it to the final XI.
Let’s take a look at players who would have made into India’s T20 World Cup squad purely on the basis of their IPL performances.
KL Rahul, the only Indian player to score over 600 runs in three consecutive seasons, has to be the first name on the list. Even though his strike rate has been underwhelming, the number of runs he amassed—616 runs in IPL 2022—is nothing short of exemplary. To counter his lackadaisical approach in the Powerplay, India should pair Rahul with Prithvi Shaw, the Delhi Capitals opener who knows the art of toying with the field. Moreover, Shaw can easily ride on the bounce and pierce the field, which is a valuable trait to have in Australian conditions.
For India to pose a serious challenge at T20 World Cup, they need to reinvigorate their middle order. They can replace the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli with more dynamic batters, who can masterfully anchor the innings without slowing down the run rate. This is where the middle-order troika of Rahul Tripathi, Suryakumar Yadav, and Sanju Samson will come in handy, for each of them has had a terrific season with the bat.
In 14 T20s, Rahul Tripathi scored 413 runs at a strike rate of 158. He loves pace on his bat, and can hit long-range sixers against spinners. Suryakumar Yadav, meanwhile, was a rare bright spot for Mumbai Indians in what proved to be a forgetful season for them. Before his campaign was cut short by an injury, Suryakumar made 303 runs in just eight games, at a strike rate of 145.
While Rishabh Pant has had a terrific outing as a batter, it might not be enough to cut into the playing XI. At this point, Rajasthan Royals’ captain Samson seems to be a more complete T20 player, and unlike Pant, he has no glaring weakness in the game. Further, Samson’s string backfoot game against fast bowlers will help him score a lot of runs on the bouncy pitches of Australia.
IPL 2022 has breathed a new life into Dinesh Karthik’s international career. As RCB’s top order struggled to lay a solid foundation, Karthik kept bailing them out with his explosive cameos. Scoring 330 runs at a strike rate of 183 has already brought him back to the national side. India have always longed for a player who can add the finishing touch, and thus Karthik is an automatic pick for the team.
While Hardik Pandya’s best season as a batter came at No. 4, he will have to bat lower down the order for the national side. Pandya scored over 400 runs and claimed eight wickets for Gujarat Titans this year.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohsin Khan will spearhead the pace attack, while Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin will be tasked to lead the spin department. Mohsin Khan, who claimed 14 wickets in nine games, impressed everyone in his debut season, conceding just under six runs per over.
With 27 wickets in 17 games, Yuzvendra Chahal finished the tournament as was the leading wicket-taker. He even claimed his maiden five-wicket haul this season, and formed a formidable spin duo with R Ashwin, who excelled in his task to stop the run flow in the middle overs.