By Amindha de Alwis
India has been among the tournament favourites in ICC events for the last decade but are without any silverware since the Champions Trophy in 2013. Captain Virat Kohli has indicated his intention of resigning from T20I captaincy following the tournament and with him doing the same for the Royal Challenger Bangalore franchise in the IPL, it will be his final chance to claim a T20 trophy under his captaincy.
India has gone in with four spinners in their squad of 15, including a reveal for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Yuzvendra Chahal, a constant in India limited-overs squads since mid-2017, has been left out in favour of Rahul Chahar while Varun Chakravarthy with his bag of variations will be one to watch. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja ho has been in fine form lately rounds out the spin quartet.
India did initially include Axar Patel in their squad as well but opted to replace him with Shardul Thakur.
The Indian batting line-up has plenty of star-power with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli forming a world-class top 3. Suryakumar Yadav’s seamless entry into international cricket in recent months makes him one to watch out for as well.
A question mark does stand over the form of Hardik Pandya who has been off-colour with bat in hand while also not being sufficiently fit to bowl. India is expecting to see him with the ball during the tournament and he will need to find his rhythm quickly to help balance the side.
India’s tournament gets underway against neighbours Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.
India has it in them to take home the trophy but may be pipped to the post by England or the West Indies. New Zealand who is in Group 2 along with India too cannot be discounted.