“I think India has taken a risk”: Michael Clarke

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Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke remarked that Team India has taken a significant risk with their spin-heavy squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup but still considers them the favourites due to their extensive preparations.

The ICC T20 World Cup will be held in the West Indies and the USA from June 1 to 29. The Men in Blue will face Bangladesh in their only warm-up game on June 1 at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Speaking on ESPN’s “Around the Wicket” program, Clarke said, “I think India has taken a risk with the squad they have picked – heavily reliant on spin, very different from Australia. But in the conditions that I have played in the Caribbean, I think how you play spin is going to be a huge part of whether you succeed or not. India is the biggest threat for me with regards to who is going to win the World Cup.”

If you look at the favourites for the World Cup it has got to be India just because of the amount of cricket they have played, their preparation has been outstanding. Conditions are different to India but there are a lot of similarities so the players would be used to that,” the former Aussie skipper added.

Leading up to the tournament, India played eight bilateral series against teams like New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia, Afghanistan, England, South Africa, Ireland, and West Indies, winning seven of them. They only lost a series against West Indies 3-2. They also secured a gold medal in the cricket tournament at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year. Across all bilateral series since their loss to England in the semifinals of the T20 WC 2022 in Australia, India has played 24 games, winning 18 and losing just six.

Top performers for India after T20 WC 2022:

  • Suryakumar Yadav: 857 runs in 20 matches and 19 innings at an average of 53.56 and a strike rate of 161.39, with three centuries and five fifties, best score of 112*.
  • Yashasvi Jaiswal: In 17 T20Is for India, Jaiswal scored 502 runs in 16 innings at an average of 33.46 and a strike rate of 161.93, with a century and four half-centuries. His best score was 100.
  • Arshdeep Singh: Leading wicket-taker for India, with 33 wickets in 25 matches at an average of 23.09 and an economy rate of 9.10, with a best of 4/37.
  • Kuldeep Yadav: 15 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 14.33 and an economy rate of 13.50, with a best of 5/17.
  • Rinku Singh: 356 runs in 15 matches and 11 innings at an average of 89.00 and a strike rate of 176.24, with two half-centuries and a best score of 69*.

India will start their T20 World Cup campaign on June 5 against Ireland at the newly constructed Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. The highly anticipated clash between India and Pakistan will take place on June 9. They will then play tournament co-hosts USA on June 12 and Canada on June 15 to wrap up their Group A matches.

India aims to end their ICC trophy drought, having last won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. Since then, India has reached the 50-over World Cup final in 2023, semifinals in 2015 and 2019, the ICC World Test Championship final in 2021 and 2023, T20 WC final in 2014, semifinals in 2016 and 2022 but has not secured a major ICC trophy.

India will be aiming to win their first T20 WC title since they won the inaugural edition of the tournament back in 2007 in South Africa. In the last edition held in Australia in 2022, India lost to England by 10 wickets in the semifinals.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Siraj

Reserves: Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Avesh Khan.

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