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What IPL cancellation could mean for Indian players vying for WT20 spots

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What IPL cancellation could mean for Indian players vying for WT20 spots

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Anirudh Suresh

03/17/2020

With the cancellation of the thirteenth edition of the IPL looking all but inevitable, it could hold grave consequences not only for stakeholders, but also for multiple players. We, here at SportsCafe, look at how the potential cancellation of IPL affect the WT20 hopes of certain Indian players.

The 2020 edition of the IPL, which has now been postponed to April 15 and looks most likely to be called off owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, was widely considered to be one of the most important seasons of the tournament, ever. Not only was it supposed to serve as an audition ground for the selectors to evaluate players and finalize the squad in a WT20 year, but it also was supposed to provide an invaluable window for certain cricketers - who were either coming back from injury or had an outside chance of boarding the plane to Australia - to make a claim for selection.

Well, the Covid-19 outbreak, which is threatening the cancellation of IPL 2020, has now ensured that everything’s been thrown out of the window. So, should the IPL be cancelled, where does it leave the Indian players? 

MS Dhoni

Well, how can we not start off with the Big Dog? After the selectors made it clear to Dhoni that strong IPL performance was the only way he would be considered for selection, you have to say, amongst all players, Dhoni probably will suffer the most should IPL be cancelled. You could say that it’s certainly curtains for his WT20 hopes and, who knows, maybe even his international career. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 20%

Hardik Pandya 

Despite wreaking havoc in the DY Patil T20 Cup - an exhibition tournament - IPL was always going to be Pandya’s litmus test, at least in terms of fitness. Cancellation would definitely raise doubts over his match fitness once again, but unlike Dhoni, though, the Baroda all-rounder can be sure of a place in the WT20 squad. IPL was never going to be his WT20 audition.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 90%

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Like Hardik Pandya, Bhuvi too was relying on the IPL to prove his match-fitness to the selectors. That he was selected in the ODIs to face the Proteas is a testament to the selectors’ faith in his abilities, but no doubt, IPL cancellation would be a big blow to his chances. On the flip side, it gives him more time to fully recover and get rid of any niggles he’s currently carrying.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 65%

Shikhar Dhawan

Again, the IPL was supposed to be nothing but a mere test of fitness was Dhawan. Contrary to popular belief, despite the emergence of Rahul, there is no way that the selectors were going to overlook Dhawan for such an important event like the WT20, especially given his prolific record in both Australia and in ICC events. I would actually say that the cancellation might boost his chances of making it to the squad, purely because it eliminates the possibility of him potentially having a nightmare of a tournament.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 85%

Kuldeep Yadav

Probably the player who will suffer the most after Dhoni is Kuldeep Yadav. Given his astonishing downfall over the course of the last 10 months, Kuldeep himself admitted in an interview that the IPL was going to be a ‘make or break’ tournament for his WT20 chances. Should the squad be announced tomorrow, you would think that he would fall behind all three of Chahal, Jadeja and Sundar in the pecking order.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 55%

Rishabh Pant

IPL has always been Rishabh Pant’s forte and after losing his place to Manish Pandey in the starting XI, the tournament was supposed to be his window to prove the selectors wrong and beg for his mercy. Well, should things stay as they are, drinks might all be that Pant carries come the World T20 in October. Due to his sheer power-hitting capability, though, you would think that the selectors would love to have him in the fifteen, if not in the XI. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 80%

Manish Pandey

The Indian management have always been avant-garde when it comes to the usage of Manish Pandey and in the New Zealand tour, they decided to test the Karnataka man at the No.6 position - and he excelled. The IPL was seen to be the perfect opportunity to back up the New Zealand performances and further assert his authority in the team, so a cancellation would considerably dent Pandey’s chances. Especially given that Pandya is now back, scrapping IPL 2020 could do significant damage to Pandey. That the boundaries in Australia are long and he does not have the firepower to clear the ropes at will also works against his favour. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 75%

Shardul Thakur

Few players have divided opinions in the Indian team like Shardul Thakur and the pattern carried on in the New Zealand tour - one day he bowled the team to victory and on another, he fed balls to opposition batsmen like a bowling machine. Given Bhuvi is now back, Thakur needed a strong IPL to keep him ahead of his compatriots, but he might fall behind considerably should the tournament be cancelled. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 70%

Mohammad Shami

Like Dhawan, an IPL cancellation might just work in Shami’s favour. His experience and his stature make him an important member of the squad by default, and the only way he would have been left out was if he had a disastrous and hideous IPL. Since that would be eliminated should the tournament be scrapped, Shami, by all means, should find a place in the squad as one of the four-seamers. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 80%

Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar is another player who could potentially benefit from the IPL getting cancelled. The scrapping of the tournament would mean that he would not get belted all over the place at the Chinnaswamy and would still, at the time of selection, boast a very strong record with no recent dents to his performances. Maybe, it could be seen as an opportunity missed to prove his bottle, but nevertheless, not too bad a scenario for the youngster. Should the team take three spinners, you would imagine that the would-be third one behind Jadeja and Chahal.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 80%

Prasidh Krishna

No one really knows why skipper Kohli threw his name in the mix in the first place, but even after getting a shoutout, the only way Prasidh was going to get anywhere near the WT20 squad was through a purple-cap performance in the IPL. I guess he can bid goodbye to his chances if the IPL is a goner. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 15%

Shivam Dube

‘Am I mere fill-in for Hardik Pandya whilst he is away’ would have been the dreaded words that would have kept running through Dube’s mind all throughout his stint with the national team in the last six months, but I guess it can be said that it’s the bitter truth. The presence of both Jadeja and Pandya means that there is literally no space to cram in another all-rounder and if the IPL indeed does not go ahead, there is absolutely no logical reason for the selectors to take Dube to Australia. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 30%

Deepak Chahar

Six months ago, Deepak Chahar would have been one of the first names in the teamsheet for Australia. But an untimely injury meant that he, just like several others, given he had minimal international experience, had to prove himself in the IPL. Given he’s still struggling with his fitness and given that Saini has catapulted into the first XI, you feel that Chahar could kiss goodbye to his WT20 chances should the IPL be cancelled.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 35%

Sanju Samson

Despite being a constant part of the squad - and even featuring in a few matches - it became increasingly evident that Samson was never a part of the team’s plan for the World T20. A very strong IPL - one that would have made the world take note of him - might have perhaps changed the management’s stance, but that, too, is now an option that’s ruled out. Safe to stay Samson would be watching the team play in the World Cup on his television, come October.

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 20%

Krunal Pandya

After being axed from the team on the back of underwhelming performances with the ball, the IPL was set to be Krunal’s last shot at staking a claim for WT20 selection. That he had a good record in Australia perhaps would have helped his cause, too, but all that would mean for nothing should the tournament not commence in the first place. 

Probability of making it to WT20 squad: 25%

Players with no chance of making it to the WT20 squad

Ravichandran Ashwin, Vijay Shankar, Khaleel Ahmed, Rahul Chahar, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Mayank Markande and Mohammad Siraj.

Players who have already sealed their spots

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja and Navdeep Saini.

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