All teams in the world are preparing for next year’s ICC T20 World Cup. Team India is also experimenting to get the best combination to win the trophy. Head Coach Ravi Shastri said that the T20 team of India is still a work in progress, after the ODI World Cup 2019. Team India skipper and the best batsman in world Virat Kohli was given a break from tight international schedule. Also, important players like Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar are still recovering from injuries. Due to this, the bowling of India looks ordinary.
Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar are performing well but pacer Khaleel Ahmed couldn’t perform as per expectations. With his left arm angle, Ahmed can be threatening for opponents. However, he continues to disappoint selectors and stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma. So here we are here looking for potential replacements of Khaleel Ahmed to build a strong team for next year ICC T20 trophy-
One of the fastest pacers of India recently debuted for the first-team in the West Indies. His balls have a threatening pace of 150 kmph. Selectors are looking at him as a great prospect for the pace bowling department. He was one of the standbys for team India in ODI World Cup 2019. In his debut match in the T20 series in West Indies, he bagged three-wicket to win Man of the match award. He is a consistent performer for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL and Delhi in Indian domestic circuit.
He was leading wicket-taker for Delhi in 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, with 34 wickets in eight matches. He was also the leading wicket-taker for Delhi in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy with 16 wickets in eight matches. In IPL, he has scalped 11 wickets from 13 matches with an average of 36.09 and economy rate of 8.27. His ordinary average and economy are due to lack of control. Batsmen use his pace to go for big shots if the ball is slightly out of line-length. So he needs to have better control to succeed at international level. He has a better record for India with 6 wickets in 5 matches with an average of 22.83 and economy rate of 8.06.
He is a very penetrative bowler who can attack the stumps of batsmen. So he should be used more as attacking option, not as a defensive bowler in death overs.
Sandeep Sharma is one of the experienced bowlers in T20 domestic and IPL cricket. He has the ability to swing the ball naturally. There were many speculations that he will play for India two years ago, but he has fallen from the radar of the selectors after that. He debuted for Kings XI Punjab against Sunsisers Hyderbad on 11th May 2013.
He bagged a three-wicket haul against Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) in 2017 edition of IPL. In the process, he became the first bowler to get wickets of the legendary trio of Chris Gayle, Indian wizard Virat Kohli and South Africa stalwart AB de Villiers in the same match.
He has a magnificent record in IPL. In 79 matches, he has scalped 95 dismissals with a remarkable economy of 7.81 and average of 23.92. It is surprising that despite having a great record, he was never considered for the national team for the shortest format of the game. In the recent 2019 Vijay Hazare Trophy of the BCCI, he bagged 17 wickets from only eight matches, with an unbelievable economy rate of 3.81, with a remarkable average of 23.4. On 6th October 2019, he wreaked havoc against Haryana in Vijay Hazare Trophy, with career-best figures of 7 for 19, to bowl them out for only 49 runs.
He can be partner Deepak Chahar in the upcoming games for India. As Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar are prone to injuries, India certainly needs good pace bowlers in the T20 format. With the ICC T20 trophy scheduled for next year, Sandeep Sharma is definitely a player to watch.