Shami one-over gains When Rohit Sharma next takes the field with his squad, it will be at the MCG on October 23 (weather permitting), in what would be his first game as India captain in an ICC tournament due to Wednesday’s washout of the India-New Zealand warm-up game in Brisbane.

India has played 35 T20 Internationals across nine series, two unofficial warm-ups (against Western Australia), and an official warm-up against Australia since their tame Super 12 elimination at the 2021 T20 World Cup, honing their combination and playing style. They’ve checked off a few items, especially with their batting, but the other two disciplines are still up for debate.

Here is a brief summary of what they have discovered over their two weeks in Australia preparing for the major event.

KL Rahul’s

KL Rahul’s batting was problematic as recently as the Asia Cup’s conclusion. His return from injury hadn’t quite gone as planned, especially in light of Rohit and Rahul Dravid’s emphasis on fast-paced hitting. His 39-ball 36 in laborious innings against Hong Kong was a particularly low point.

He could see he was under strain. Prior to the domestic T20Is against Australia, Rahul, who had previously said during the IPL that strike-rates were overrated, sang from a different hymnal, saying that he was making a serious effort to increase his strike-rate.

The day after his news conference in Mohali, he demonstrated that he meant business by scoring a quick 35 off 55 against Australia. He scored a 28-ball 57 in Guwahati against South Africa, providing another proof of the buy-in.

Shami one-over gains He has already scored a 55-ball 74 against Western Australia and a 33-ball 57 against an elite attack on a fast and bouncy pitch since arriving in Australia. Rahul’s return to form means Rohit won’t have to carry all of the PowerPlay weight alone, allowing the rest of the lineup to have a little breather.

For Shami, is it a case of nothing to lose and everything to gain?

The game might have been won with a slot ball to Pat Cummins on another day since there was no time crunch, the hitters weren’t the best, and there wasn’t any pressure. Mohammed Shami had very little to lose. However, he may have won something by bowling that decisive over against Australia and helping India win the pointless exhibition match: a spot in the XI for the opener against Pakistan.

Even while it may not be fair to draw conclusions from a single warm-up over, Shami’s bowling appears good despite the fact that he hasn’t played in a competitive match in the past three months.

As seen seven years ago on similar conditions at the 2015 World Cup, his skiddy short ball may hasten hitters. Additionally, India needs death bowling reinforcements because Harshal Patel is still finding his rhythm after suffering a rib injury.

Mohammed Shami

The problem is that Shami has historically been employed in the IPL as a PowerPlay specialist, a position that India has well filled with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh.

However, Shami also captures wickets in this period (14 in IPL 2019, 12 in IPL 2021, and 8 in IPL 2022). Shami may be pricey at the death (ER of 10.85 in IPL 2022). Shami one-over gains India may front-load with their finest fast bowlers with him and hope that he would utilise his expertise to pull out heists similar to the one at the Gabba.

After that game, Rohit stated, “I know which bowlers will play in my head, but it’s vital to give them confidence.” Few of them are visiting Australia for the first time, which is a great destination to play cricket and enjoy yourself while getting used to the weather.

It’s possible that Rohit only wanted the second warm-up to make this choice. But he will now have to make an intuitive but well-informed decision between a specialist he had supported during the year-long lead-up to this tournament or choose the experienced bowler, who he and the management hadn’t thought about until Jasprit Bumrah’s injury at the eleventh hour.

Yuzvendra Chahal may once again become collateral if Shami is added and takes Harshal’s slot as India would attempt to prevent a long-ish tail. The No. 8 position should therefore be filled by R. Ashwin.

Karthik’s turn to bat

Over the course of the year, India’s specialised finisher Dinesh Karthik has walked out to bat 15.4 overs into the team’s innings. In order to give Karthik his optimum entrance spot to maximise his abilities, India was even ready to bat Axar Patel above him in the batting order. Despite his importance, India wanted to give him a chance to bat early so they could be ready for anything. He hit a 21-ball 46 at Indore earlier this month while batting in the second over against South Africa.

In addition, against Australia, Karthik entered the game earlier than normal, in the 14th over, to prevent a mini-collapse in which India lost Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya in short succession. In the two warm-up games against Western Australia, Karthik also stepped out to bat inside the 13th over. Prior to the Australia game, he also took advantage of an unusually long hit out in the Gabba nets. It will all be useful to India’s keeper-bat.