Ishant Sharma predicts India’s Chances in T20 World Cup 2022

India has got off to a flying start in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, thanks to their scintillating win over arch-rivals Pakistan. The Men in Blue snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they chased down 160 on the very last ball of the innings. Struggling at 31/4, former India captain Virat Kohli and all-rounder Hardik Pandya put down their heads and stitched a crucial 113-run partnership for the fifth wicket to give India a ray of hope.

However, the game looked more in Pakistan’s favour, with 48 runs to get in the last three overs. Kohli, who was well set by then, put his foot on the accelerator and smashed a couple of boundaries and sixes in the 18th and 19th overs, respectively. With 16 runs to get in the final over, Kohli kept his cool and brought all his experience into play to see India home. After his unbeaten innings of 82 from 53, there is seldom any doubt why he is called King Kohli.

While India have kick-started their World Cup campaign on a positive note, the veteran ace speedster Ishant Sharma, in an exclusive interview, talks about Men in Blue’s chances of winning the silverware after a decade.

Sharma, just like billions of Indians across the world, is excited to see the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup being played in Australia. Having been in the Indian setup for 15 years, the 34-year-old has played with most of the players in the current Indian team featuring in the ICC event. Just before the World Cup, India received a big blow from their pace sensation, Jasprit Bumrah, who is out due to injury. Bumrah has been an integral part of the Indian team across all formats. Sharma in his chat with Betway said, “The bowlers will be crucial in this tournament. We know that runs come easily in T20 cricket these days, so it’s the bowlers who can make the difference. That’s particularly the case for India because they are without Jasprit Bumrah. There is plenty of depth in India’s fast bowling, and somebody will have to step up and win the World Cup for their team.”  

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Apart from Bumrah, India are missing the services of star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Axar Patel has been drafted as the like-to-like replacement for Jadeja. Sharma averred, “He’s (Axar) always done well for the team and in the IPL. Bumrah is going to be difficult to replace because of his experience. He has the skill set to perform repeatedly, particularly at death in pressurized situations. He also has that unique action.”

India’s bowling may look relatively weak due to the absence of Jadeja and Bumrah, but there is no shortage of quality batters in the side. Virat Kohli is undoubtedly one of them. Sharma stated, “I have played so much cricket with him since childhood, and I know that he will perform exactly how the team needs him to perform. If they require quick innings from him, he will deliver. He can do that if they need somebody to bat through the innings. He’ll never think about individual accolades. He’s a team man. It just depends on the kind of role that he is given. He’s been in good form recently, so I am confident he will score runs during the World Cup.”

Another player to watch for this World Cup would be the talented Suryakumar Yadav. Despite making his international debut in 2020, SKY has taken quick strides and stamped his authority with grace. Sharma elucidated, “I think he has changed his game a bit in the last few months. He’s gone from being a good player to someone who is a 360-degree player. As a bowler, he doesn’t give you an option. He plays with the field brilliantly and makes you feel it’s impossible to stop him from scoring.”

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Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, India looks like a strong contender to win the coveted ICC trophy. The team has a wealth of experience in the form of senior players who have played in Australian conditions before. The grounds Down Under are big, and the Indian batters and bowlers will be aware of it. After a dismal outing in the ICC T20 World Cup last year, the Men in Blue will be itching to get their hands on the silverware. Sharma explained, “If you look at the last World Cup, the toss made such a big difference to results, and India lost all of the first three tosses. Yes, the IPL is the biggest league in the world, and India has loads of squad depth, but that doesn’t change if you lose the toss and have to bowl with a wet ball in dewy conditions. It was very difficult for teams bowling second to grip the ball in that tournament, so hopefully, India get a bit more luck this time.”

Toward the end of the interview, Sharma highlighted that Australia and England could be the other teams with a strong chance of winning the T20 World Cup and can challenge India. Both teams have swashbuckling openers in David Warner (Australia) and Jos Buttler (England).  

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