Mumbai, January 27: The India team selection for the ODIs and T20Is against the West Indies offered us three curious names — Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan.
While Bishnoi was not exactly a surprise pick because he has been churning out some good efforts in the IPL 2020 and IPL 2021 for Punjab Kings, and now he has been earned a draft pick by Lucknow Super Giants.
But Hooda came as a bit of shock, and his ability to give a few overs of spin in the middle-overs might also have favoured his inclusion. Avesh Khan's IPL 2021 effort for Delhi Capitals might have done good for him.
Here’s we look at the reasons for the selection of Hooda, Bishnoi and Avesh.
Hooda is a 26-year-old cricketer from Baroda but has since changed team to Rajasthan ahead the 2020-21 season and has not looked back since. Hooda was part of India’s T20I side against Sri Lanka at home and in the Nidahas Trophy in the 2017-18 season but never got a game.
Hooda is nicknamed as 'Hurricane’ for his ability to change the game in a whisker with bat. Hooda scored 198 runs in Vijay Hazare Trophy and 294 runs (strike-rate 168) in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2021, and that prowess has earned him an Indian call. A memorable knock came when he made 75 off 39 balls against Jharkhand, striking at more than 190, to propel his side Rajasthan to win.
Additionally, Hooda can bowl some useful spin in the middle-overs. In the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, India needed an all-rounder who can bat deep in the middle and give them some relief overs. Jadeja is injured and the selectors were clear that they don’t want to rush him from the recuperating process.
Hardik played till the World T20 but looked very raw and lacked the fire power with the bat and was not very useful with the ball as well. It really upset India’s team combination in the white ball formats, and Venkatesh Iyer, who made his debut against SA, too lacked the sufficient experience to play out that role. He could be considered in the future after gaining experience in the domestic cricket.
As such, Hooda fits the bill of a bowling all-rounder because he has good experience in domestic cricket.
The 21-year-old from Rajasthan is a very promising leg-spinner. He had really good outing for Punjab Kings in the IPL 2020 and 2021 taking 24 wickets from 23 matches and his economy was a brilliant 6.96 over the two seasons.
Bishnoi showed maturity behind his age, and was never really afraid while bowling to big-hitters or other experienced batsmen like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni or Rohit Sharma.
Overall, Bishnoi has taken 24 wickets from 17 List A matches and 49 wickets from 42 T20 matches. He has also been a part of India U19 side that toured South Africa.
If anything, Bishnoi gives India the hope of a long-term option as leg-spinners are now a valued property in white ball formats and India have very important assignments on their way — the ICC World T20 later this year in Australia and in the 50-over World Cup at home in 2023.
Avesh is a 25-year-old pacer from Madhya Pradesh who made his debut back in 2014. He has 100 Ranji Trophy wickets from 27 matches, and 65 wickets from 48 T20Is and 17 wickets from 22 List A matches.
But his watershed year came in the IPL 2021 for Delhi Capitals when he plucked 24 wickets from 16 matches, the second highest behind Harshal Patel’s 32.
With Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami rested for the West Indies, India needed a bowler who can pick wickets and comfortable with new ball and at death. Avesh can give India that option.