Not long before the T20 World Cup in the UAE, Hardik Pandya boasted that India could probably field two teams in the tournament such was their strength in depth. India didn't make it out of the group stage. In short, they couldn't have won it with two teams.
India's supposed array of talent in T20 has come into sharp focus in the Indian Premier League because of the disappointing displays of their established players. The 'big names' have not fired. Not that those who are students of the format would have expected Virat Kohli to do so. He is a dreadful T20 player as discussed here.
With only five months to go before the next World Cup in Australia, there should be more of a hint of panic in the offices of the BCCI that the IPL is good at attracting money but it is in the black when producing players to win matches for the host country.
It is a curiosity of the much-hyped league that since its inception India have never won the world title. The IPL was born only because of the 2007 win. It puts into perspective Kevin Pietersen's claim that England would be better off with a red-ball franchise system.
And given the poor performances of a clutch of players who would have been expected to be mainstays of their bid for glory Down Under, that sequence could continue. They rate dreadful joint-favourites at 4.507/2 with Australia. You can lay them here.
Here's a list of those players, including how costly they have been for punters. Record should always trump reputation when it comes to betting. Selectors should start to pay attention to the maxim, too.
Rohit has for some time been unable to keep up with the pacesetters in the opening slot in T20. It's another poor return, averaging 18 with a below-average strike rate of 128. But the paucity of players coming through to challenge him means he is a shoo-in, especially as he is skipper. Look at that dreadful top-bat return.
Top-bat wins: 1/12
Scores over 25.5: 5/12
Kishan has averaged 29 runs, which is okay. But a strike rate of 117 is not. In what should have been a season when he dominated attacks, he has gone backwards
Top-bat wins: 3/12
Scores over 25.5: 6/12
Kohli should be nowhere near the India team, as we have said previously. He probably keeps out Suryakumar Yadav who is one of only two India top-order players to shine.
Top-bat wins: 1/13
Scores over 25.5: 4/13
Iyer has done okay. But you never know what you're going to get. A blitz or a go-slow. His strike rate of 129 is a little disappointing as he has failed to produce innings that demands he's in the middle order.
Top-bat wins: 2/12
Scores over 25.5: 6/12
Pant probably shouldn't be in this list. But there is a perception he's had a poor time of it. In fact, his numbers are pretty good. He is averaging 32 and, more importantly, a strike rate of 156 is exactly what is required. He has also done well on the markets.
Top-bat wins: 3/13
Scores over 25.5: 7/12
A real stinker for Iyer, whose India career has surely stalled. He started as an opener, then was shunted to the middle-order where plays for the national team, then he was dropped and brought back to open. That's Brendon McCullum for you. Like Kishan this should have been a big season.
Top-bat wins: t/10
Scores over 25.5: 2/10
The man whose star has fallen more than anyone else. Replaced as captain of Chennai and then dropped, Jadeja has averaged 19 and taken only five wickets. Punters who put faith in him with either discipline are in despair.
Top-bat wins: 0/10
Scores over 21.5: 3/10
Top bowler wins: 0/10
Bumrah's 11 wickets in ten games looks reasonable. But five of those came in his last but one outing against KKR. It's been another underwhelming season for potency. His economy rate is good. He is likely to come under pressure for his place with Harshal Patel and Mohammad Shami performing well. Betting him for top bowler for Mumbai has been a disaster.
Top-bowler outright wins: 1/12
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