New Delhi. After the defeat of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, there have been many changes in Indian cricket. The spirited era of coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli has finally come to an end and a new team of successors has come on board. Perhaps a new strong leadership group has been set up to win the upcoming three ICC events to raise the stature of Indian cricket. However, in this process some players are standing on edge and they are also expected to be out of the system. Just as a lot of accuracy, discretion and transparency is expected from the new team management, so too is the plan to weed out ineffective players. In such a situation, in the upcoming India vs New Zealand series, 6 players will have a special eye. If these 6 players fail to perform, then there is every possibility of them being out.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Unfortunately, 2021 was not fruitful for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He remained injured during the first half of 2021, which in many ways put a question mark on his fitness. After this, when he returned to white ball cricket, he was not impressive. In IPL 2021, he was able to take only 6 wickets in 11 matches. The T20 World Cup 2021 has also increased Bhuvi’s troubles. Failure in the upcoming home series against New Zealand could prove to be one of the last nails in the coffin for them. Since the selectors now have a huge pool of white-ball fast bowlers, Bhuvi’s exit is not a big deal.
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Axar Patel: The year 2021 has been full of happiness for Axar Patel. The all-rounder had become a hero in India’s home Test series against England earlier in the year. Also, since Ravindra Jadeja was suffering an injury, Axar Patel got a chance. In IPL also the cricketer proved himself for Delhi Capitals. His left-arm spin got him a total of 15 wickets in 12 matches in the 2021 season. His performance has certainly opened the way for him, but his place in the team is uncertain. The 27-year-old will have to face a constant challenge of all-rounders to keep himself afloat in India’s white-ball cricket. These include Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar and Venkatesh Iyer.
Ajinkya Rahane: Sadly for Ajinkya Rahane too, the upcoming home Test series against New Zealand will be a much-needed effort. His place in the Test team has been in serious trouble for the longest time because of his performance in the last two years. Rahane, who led India to a historic series win against Australia under his captaincy last year, has remained silent since then. Rahane could not play a big innings in the 4 Tests against England and the World Test Championship. Since then, questions are being raised on his place in the playing-11. Since the Melbourne Test last year, Rahane has played 11 Tests and has scored 372 runs at an average of just 19. Rahane scored just 109 runs in 7 innings at an average of 15.57. In fact, since the start of 2020, Ajinkya Rahane has scored only 644 runs in 27 Test innings at an average of 24.76 and has just one century and two half-centuries to his name.
Wriddhiman Saha: For Wriddhiman Saha, it looks like the time has definitely come for him to leave Team India. The cricketer has been regarded as the best wicketkeeper in the country since MS Dhoni’s retirement, but his position has not been good in recent years with the arrival of Rishabh Pant. Yet the 37-year-old was considered good enough for red-ball affairs. With the emergence of young talented wicketkeepers like KS Bharath, the time of the experienced wicketkeeper may soon run out. According to reports, along with resting Pant in the Test series against New Zealand, Bharat can be given a chance.
Ravichandran Ashwin: It has been very difficult for Ravichandran Ashwin to play white-ball cricket. The cricketer has been sidelined from limited overs cricket since the 2017 Champions Trophy, but was included in the T20 squad just before the 2021 T20 World Cup. Despite having a stellar record in the IPL, Ashwin is still considered the deputy of India’s main leg-spinner. The 35-year-old spinner was called up to the T20 Worlds due to the unavailability of injured Washington Sundar, but once Sundar makes an appearance there is a possibility that the legend may be dropped again.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance has also been fluctuating in the recent past. He has often been subjected to criticism for his slow batting. Although, he is considered to be the Test specialist of Team India, but still he is not proving to be the hero of the team’s victory. In such a situation, his position also remains doubtful. After losing the final of the World Test Championship, Virat Kohli had also targeted Pujar and Rahane in the press conference. He had said, ‘The mindset should be to score runs and find ways to score runs. You can’t be too worried about getting out, because then you are bringing the bowler into the game completely.