IND vs ZIM: How strong does the Indian squad look against Zimbabwe for the T20I

NewsBharati    06-Jul-2024 10:46:54 AM
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-Devdeep Tyagi

These are interesting times for Indian cricket.

Much like always, a lot of attention to world cricket is the beating heart of the subcontinent that plays with great resolve, decorating the fabric of the sport with immense talent and zeal.

ind vs zim

While on the one hand, an entire country is in a celebratory mood given Rohit Sharma and the team’s brilliant T20 World Cup triumph with a huge ICC trophy coming home in over a decade, on the other hand, a group of young cricketers in whose hands rests the future of Indian cricket is out to challenge Zimbabwe.

A new beginning for a talented and rising lot

The focus, in that sense of the word, is on both Mumbai, which was witness to enthralling celebrations a few hours earlier, and Harare, which will host India and Zimbabwe in five T20 internationals.

What makes the soon-to-begin series rather interesting is a bunch of factors that deal with India’s talent currently in Africa, the fact that this is a young and promising group and the very nature of the series.

For starters, Shubman Gill, captain of the squad facing Zimbabwe, merited his ascendency to the leadership role.

Focus on Gill, the Prince of batting

The blazing right-hander, who already boasts of a double century in one-day white ball cricket contests, was the ideal choice to lead a camp that is looking for crucial experience playing away from India as well as hoping for some soft spots to go through in its favour. Gill, an attractive strokemaker, will look to further enhance his T20I career; of the fourteen games he’s played so far, the Punjab batsman already has a century in this format to his name.

IPL names burst into new-looking India squad

That said, the troika of Sai Sudharsan, Jitesh Sharma and Harshit Rana, as confirmed by the BCCI, enables the promising youngsters to test their mettle in alien conditions.

Sudharsan’s batting has been elegant and defined by a sense of purpose; the left-hander has already become one of the batting mainstays of Gujarat Titans in the IPL.

Harshit Rana added to the bowling strength of KKR, the winners of the 2024 IPL season through sheer commitment and resolve. His ability to hit the deck hard and challenge batters with a probing pace is likely to take the Zimbabwean batters by sheer surprise.

Similarly, Jitesh Sharma of Punjab Kings, 30, could play the role of the specialist keeper batsman.

The T20I’s are a great chance for three of the rising names in the most popular T20 league in the world to now prove their talent in an Indian shirt.

Riyan Parag’s maiden chance to solidify his credentials

However, that being said, the man who’ll carry a lot of buzz around him in this series will be Riyan Parag, most noted for his daring batting performances for the Rajasthan Royals and for scoring no fewer than 573 runs in the latest edition of the IPL.

In his maiden assignment for team India, Parag will be expected to fire and come good against an opponent that may have only watched him bat on TV thus far.

The young-looking Indian squad also comprises some national experience

Then there are several other talented names in an exciting squad that could be expected to carry definitive roles on this tour, such as the classy Ruturaj Gayakwad, the explosive Rinku Singh, who’ll undoubtedly be one of the most closely watched Indian cricketers this series and Dhruv Jurel.

The fact that each of these gifted cricketers has already played international cricket for India in some capacity, however dainty (thus far), adds a strong dimension to the group.

Supporting this enterprising and exciting lot is National Cricket Academy (NCA) chief VVS Laxman, who’s been elected as the stand-in coach since the team is currently on the look out for name to fill the full-time role.

Gill’s new looking squad can be expected to get the better of hosts who are known to play a brand of cricket that could so easily be defined by inconsistency and surprising collapses.

Where do all five T20I’s take place?

That all games are slated to be played at the Harare Sports Club shall enable both teams to compete with a certain degree of familiarity.

However, the biggest challenge to India apart from world-class all-rounder Sikandar Raza (elected captain of Zimbabwe for this tour) could come from the sheer unfamiliarity of competing against a squad the visitors have very little or perhaps no prior experience of.

Big challenge for hosts Zimbabwe

While talented names like Chatara and Muzarabani and maybe Innocent Kaia form familiar faces, the rest of the Zimbabwean squad, featuring names like Dion Mayers (5 ODI’s and 8 T20I’s), Antum Naqvi (Belgium-born batsman with a first-class average of 72), and Faraz Akram are named India don’t have much of an idea about.

Having said that, the hosts will certainly hope that the likes of Milton Shumba, and Brandon Mavuta, the latter known as genuine wicket-taker, in international cricket albeit with brief national experience, can rise to the occasion and trouble the visitors.

While Mavuta, the leg break specialist who can also bat is aged 27 and has played 21 internationals for Zimbabwe, Shumba, 23, has already played 30 T20Is for the team.

The latter is a talented top-order batsman who has a fifty to his name in this format. Moreover, Shumba is skilled in slow left arm orthodox bowling. He’d love to add some attractive dismissals to his Zimbabwean resume on this tour

Having said that the fiercely determined Raza, 38 and hence, the most experienced campaigner on this tour from either side, will have to definitely lead by an example and display brilliance in both disciplines of the game if Zimbabwe are to make a strong contest out of the five T20I’s.