The IND vs PAK clash in any ICC event is the biggest attraction and of course, the two arch-rivals are yet again in the same group for the upcoming T20 World Cup. India and Pakistan are placed in Group A of the 2024 T20 WC alongside Canada, Ireland and the USA.
India and Pakistan are slated to face off on June 9th in New York. The 20-team T20 World Cup will be held in the Caribbean and the USA from June 1, with the final taking place on June 29. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super 8, which will be split into two groups. The top two sides from those groups would then enter the semifinals.
As of now, the men in blue are not scheduled to play any T20I series before the T20 WC, apart from the ongoing series against Afghanistan. There has been a lot of uncertainty around the Indian T20 side and the road isn't as clear as it was ahead of the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Looking at how things stand currently, we try to come up with India's predicted XI for the IND vs PAK T20 WC clash.
India's possible 15-member squad for the 2024 T20 WC
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Axar Patel, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Mohammed Siraj
India's predicted XI for IND vs PAK T20 WC
There has been plenty of debate and criticism around Rohit Sharma's place in India's T20 side. Fans want the team to have younger players in the side ahead of seniors just hogging the spots. The management, however, doesn't look keen on it. Rohit is leading the T20I side in the ongoing Afghanistan series.
The management hasn't given any clarity on which one of Rohit and Hardik Pandya will be leading India in the T20 WC. Rohit's form hasn't been great in T20 cricket with four ducks in his previous 10 innings and he hasn't had a good IPL season in the last few years. But as of now, it looks like he will be one of the designated openers.
Yashasvi Jaiswal has forced his way into the Indian side with his performances in the last couple of years. Being a left-hander also goes in his favour as the left-right combination at the top is ideal in any format.
Jaiswal had an incredible IPL campaign in 2023, where he amassed 625 runs at a strike rate of 164 while averaging 48. Jaiswal then earned a spot in the Indian T20I side and has struck at 164, including a century and four half centuries.
Virat Kohli, another senior has had question marks over his place in the T20I side and the management hasn't been kind to him in the past. But Kohli has been the best batter for India in almost all T20 WCs he has played.
Kohli has also been in outstanding form with the bat. He had a very good IPL 2023, where he scored 639 runs at an average of 53 while striking at nearly 140.
Suryakumar Yadav has been the best T20 batter in the world in the last couple of years. His T20 international record is surreal, having scored 2141 runs at an average of 46 and strike rate of 171. SKY had a stellar IPL season last year with 605 runs at a strike rate of 181 while averaging 43.
Jitesh Sharma (wk)
In the absence of Rishabh Pant, Jitesh Sharma is the best wicket-keeper option India have in the middle and lower middle order. Other options like Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are more suited for the top order and India's top order is packed as it is. Jitesh has done well in the IPL in the previous two seasons, scoring 649 runs at an average of nearly 30 while striking at 159.
Hardik Pandya is a vital cog in the wheel for India in limited-overs cricket. He is the best white-ball all-rounder in the world but his fitness hasn't been reliable. After returning from a long layoff due to a back injury, Hardik had a good 18 months until he suffered an ankle injury during the ODI World Cup.
Hardik has resumed his training and is expected to be fit by the IPL. India will need him to be fully fit and bowl four overs every match to have the best balance in the side.
Rinku Singh has done more than enough in the last couple of years to warrant a spot in India's XI for the IND vs PAK T20 WC clash. In 2023, Rinku Singh scored 955 runs across all T20 cricket at an average of 73 while striking at 166. But if both Rohit and Virat play or Hardik isn't fit enough to bowl, Rinku will have to sit out.
The left-arm spin all-rounder is pretty much a certainty in India's playing XI. Ravindra Jadeja has been bowling well in white-ball cricket as well and has become a reliable bowler. His batting, while inconsistent, does add value down the order.
Ravi Bishnoi has been India's designated wrist spinner in T20Is in recent times. In 2023, the leg-break bowler picked 41 wickets from 29 games in all T20s at an economy of 7.12.
Jasprit Bumrah is the most valuable player in the Indian team. India's bowling attack improves significantly with Bumrah in it. The right-arm pacer is the best in the world and has the ability to do well in all phases of the innings. Bumrah will hold the key for India in the IND vs PAK T20 WC encounter.
Mohammed Siraj has produced some quality performers in the last couple of years to become one of India's reliable bowlers across formats. Siraj will be the first-choice partner for Bumrah in the IND vs PAK T20 WC match.