Yuvraj Singh builds India's best XI for T20 World Cup campaign. Check out


Wednesday, 22 May 2024 (17:40 IST)
New Delhi: India have already named a strong 15-member contingent and four travelling reserves to be led by Rohit Sharma for T20I cricket’s showpiece event, which starts on June 1 in West Indies and USA.
India will embark on their quest for T20 World Cup glory next month, a trophy they haven’t won since their victory in the inaugural edition in 2007.
One of the members of that winning team was Yuvraj Singh and the stylish left-hander is desperate to see India lift the trophy again.
The ambassador of the upcoming T20 World Cup picked out players he would like to see in the Indian team at the tournament next month, starting with the top order which didn’t have too many surprises.
“I think Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal should definitely open,” Yuvraj said. “Virat (Kohli) has been batting at No.3 and that’s his position. And then you get Surya Yadav at four, and then you got a couple of big options."
“I’d like to see a couple of left-hand, right-hand combinations because it is harder to bowl at two combinations all the time,” he said.
Sticking to his preference for a left-right batting combination throughout the line-up, Yuvraj has leaned towards Rishabh Pant over Sanju Samson for the vital wicket-keeper's role, an ICC report said.
Both the wicket-keeper batters have been in sensational form in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League.
Sanju Samson has not only shouldered the responsibility of captaincy but has also played a pivotal role in the batting order for the Rajasthan Royals this year. He currently ranks seventh in the list of leading run-scorers this season, amassing 504 runs in 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 156.32 while guiding his team to eight wins and a spot in the playoffs.
On the other hand, Rishabh Pant made a remarkable comeback after recovering from a near-fatal car accident that sidelined him for 14 months. Despite a quiet start to the season, the 26-year-old swiftly shook off the rust to accumulate 446 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 155.40.
“I’d probably go for Rishabh,” Yuvraj said. “Obviously Sanju is also in great form, but Rishabh is a left-hander, and I believe that Rishabh has massive potential to win games for India, which he has done in the past."
“Lot more in Test cricket, and he’s someone who I feel can be a match-winner on the big stage," he said.
Despite concerns surrounding the form of vice-captain Hardik Pandya, who has struggled to find his batting rhythm at the IPL, Yuvraj remains optimistic about the all-rounder's impact at the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Although Pandya has shown signs of regaining his bowling form in the IPL, his batting performances have been below par, having scored only 216 runs in 14 matches. The slump follows his return from a prolonged injury layoff dating back to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
However, Yuvraj stands firmly behind Pandya, expressing confidence that the all-rounder will deliver something extraordinary at the tournament.
“Well, the good thing is that the selection has been made. (Selectors see) how players have performed at international cricket and then they look at IPL form. Just not the IPL form,” Yuvraj noted.
“Because if you look at the IPL form, Hardik’s not done well. Looking at his background for India, what he’s done for India, it is important that he’s in the squad," he said.
“I think his bowling is going to be important, and his fitness is going to be important. And I think he might do something really special in this World Cup,” Yuvraj said.
Prior to India’s squad selection, Yuvraj spoke with the ICC during the announcement of his role as the ambassador for the T20 World Cup.
At the time, the former two-time World Cup winner had tipped Shivam Dube to secure a spot in the squad after impressive performances in the IPL.
Dube scored 396 runs in 14 matches for the Chennai Super Kings while striking at 162.29. Though initially featuring only as a batter, he bowled his right-arm medium pace against Punjab Kings, giving India another bowling option at the T20 World Cup.
“I think with Shivam Dube, the last T20 series he played for India, I think he did well. And he’s been very consistent in the IPL as well,” Yuvraj noted. “I just felt the kind of form he’s in, it was important for him to be in the squad. I really think he can make a huge difference in the middle order or the lower middle order, so it’s good to see him in the Indian T20 squad."
“It was hard to, if you look at the guys, it was a hard squad to make, and unfortunately couple of really guys missed out but that’s just the nature of selecting the World Cup squad I guess,” he said.
Rinku Singh was the casualty in this case, having been relegated to the reserve list at the expense of Dube. Rinku has had a below-par IPL but has been in sublime touch in the Indian colours since making his international debut, amassing 356 runs in 11 T20I innings at a breathtaking strike rate of 176.23.
Yuvraj expressed sympathy for both Rinku and Shubman Gill, another player who is in the four-person travelling reserve list.
“It was a bit unfortunate for Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh,” he said. If I talk about Rinku, obviously he has been in good form for India and he has done so well for KKR. And I see a lot of improvement in his batting in the last couple of years.
“Unfortunate for him and Shubman obviously, scoring tons of runs, from the last year someone who has scored the most number of hundreds for India. From the last two years, and to miss out, as I said that’s the nature of selecting a World Cup squad and I’m sure these guys will be the first ones whenever there’s an opportunity,” Yuvraj said.
Yuvraj was pleased to see Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad, marking his return to T20I cricket for the first time since August 2023, after which he missed the home World Cup and four bilateral T20I series.
However, his recent IPL performances – where he has picked up 14 wickets in 11 matches and also became the first-ever player to take 200 wickets in the tournament history – have paved the way for a remarkable comeback.
“It was nice to see Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad, because he’s been bowling really well,” Yuvraj said while speaking overall about the bowlers. “And second half of the World Cup, you might have wickets slowing down so it’s good to keep some bowling options. Spin."
“We have Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, we have the experience with Arshdeep Singh as well. So looks like a really strong side but we have to prove it,” he said.
India’s T20 World Cup campaign begins on June 5 against Ireland before the newly-constructed Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York takes centre stage for the epic India vs Pakistan clash on June 9.
They will later play tournament co-hosts USA (June 12) and Canada (June 15) to wrap up their Group A matches.

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