As India edge closer to the start of their T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, former cricketers and experts are contemplating what playing XI should the team opt for. With no ‘Impact Player’ rule like the Indian Premier League, the management has to be extra careful with regards to the team balance. Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, hence, feels there should be more bowling options in the playing XI as the trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav doesn’t bowl, making the team handicapped.

In a chat on Star Sports, Pathan backed Yashasvi Jaiswal‘s inclusion in the team, not just for his batting but also the fact that he can bowl one or two overs if required.

“With the selected team, there can be two combinations. In one combination, you can play with six bowlers, including Axar Patel, to deepen the batting lineup. In the other combination, you can play with four front-line bowlers and expect Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya to bowl. Another option for Team India is a young player who bowls in the nets but hasn’t bowled in matches, Yashasvi Jaiswal. Shivam Dube also mentioned during the IPL that he has been regularly bowling in the nets, preparing to bowl one or two overs in the World Cup,” Irfan said.

“If Hardik can give you the option of bowling three to four overs, this problem will be largely solved. Our other batsmen, like Rohit, Virat, or Suryakumar Yadav, can’t bowl, which makes us somewhat handicapped. Ideally, if any of these players could bowl, it would greatly benefit the team. We talk about Australia, but even England has many all-rounders among their top seven players, including Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, and Will Jacks. It’s always better to have more bowling options, and yes, in this scenario, we are definitely handicapped,” the retired all-rounder added.

Another former India cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar, echoed Pathan’s sentiments on the lack of all-rounders the team has, saying both Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya would need to be in the team, while taking up bowling responsibilities too if India are to strike a balance.

“Lack of all-rounders is a bit of a weakness for Team India. If you look at Australia, their batters like Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Cameron Green can bowl four overs in a match. I think that’s why the Indian team has brought Shivam Dube into the side to mitigate the limitations that come with a lack of all-rounders. Yes, it’s a small weakness, and now with the impact substitute rule in the IPL, this problem might increase. We currently rely on specialist bowlers and batters, but in this World Cup, the team will need to make some adjustments, and someone will have to bowl at least two to three overs in a match,” he explained.

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