"Gurkeerat should perhaps be looked at as a future T20 probable as well."
Team India need to review their T20 cricket strategy, following the 2-0 series loss against South Africa in October 2015.
With the World Twenty20 event taking place in 2016, this could be a blessing in disguise as it gives the Men in Blue a chance to test their bench strength and bring in fresh talent.
When picking players for the future, selectors will no doubt take into account form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and across domestic cricket.
In a bid to improve overall team performance, lets take a closer look at five young players who should be considered for selection in the shorter format of the game:
25-year-old Yuzvendra Chahal has proven to be a big player for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
Over three seasons in the IPL, Chahal has taken 35 wickets. The former Mumbai Indians player claimed 23 wickets at an average of 18.40 in the 2015 IPL.
Finishing as the 3rd highest wicket-taker in the 2015 IPL, the leg-spinner from Haryana can be a good support bowler for Ravichandran Ashwin in the spin department.
Youngster Shreyas Iyer is an exciting player who opens the batting for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL.
The Mumbai born player whose ancestors are from Thrissur, Kerala, became the 8th highest scorer in the 2015 IPL, with an average close to 34.
As cricket experts frequently talk about the lack of firepower up the order, Iyer could be selected, providing he continues his rich vein of form. Iyer who plays well on the back foot is often compared to the experienced Rohit Sharma.
If and when selected, Sarfaraz Khan could be the real x-factor and surprise package for India especially at a World T20 event.
The teenager from Mumbai is a young dashing prospect who has represented his country at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
In 2015, at the age of seventeen, Sarfaraz became the youngest cricketer to make his debut in the IPL.
He is a hard hitting batsman in the mould of Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. With age on his side, Sarfaraz can also improve his spin bowling over the next few years.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann
In his mid 20’s, Gurkeerat Singh Mann is a batting all-rounder who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
Gurkeerat has already been selected in India’s ODI squad to face South Africa in October 2015. He earned this call up after a few good outings for India A versus Bangladesh A, followed by a wonderful domestic double hundred for Punjab against Railways in the Ranji Trophy.
Having preferred Mann to the experienced Ravindra Jadeja shows that the selectors have faith in him and believe he can deliver at the highest level.
Speaking of his ODI call up and looking to the future, Chairman of Selectors Sandeep Patil said:
“Gurkeerat was picked looking at his all-round capabilities. The demands of the game are such that we need more all-rounders.”
“If he does play the ODIs and does well, Gurkeerat should perhaps be looked at as a future T20 probable as well,” added the former Indian cricketer.
With Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni contemplating to bat higher up the order in limited overs cricket, Deepak Hooda could be the man to play lower down and act as the team finisher at the back end of the innings.
Addressing this issue, MS Dhoni told the media:
“So somebody has to take that responsibility of batting low. Maybe if I start batting at four or five, somebody else will have to do that position.
Because in the coming years you need someone ready to do that job. It is something you need to have in your back-up plans.”
Hooda is a young all-rounder born in Rohtak, Baroda. The 20-year-old who has been known to play the big shots for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL could also be a useful option with his right-arm off break bowling.
Besides up and coming players, India might opt for experience and decide to recall Ashish Nehra. The tall left-arm medium-fast pacer bowled consistently during the 2015 IPL, bagging 22 wickets in 16 matches.
Nehra also has the ability to bowl yorkers at the death. But at 35+, his age could be a major talking point as to whether selectors will consider him or not.
It will be interesting to see what plans Indian selectors have for T20 cricket.
They may enter a big tournament with a young side like they did in the inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 tournament. Otherwise the team composition will include a mix of youth and experience in the final squad.
India take on Australia in a three match T20 series down under between 26-31 January 2016. India also host the World Twenty20 event at home from 11 March to 03 April 2016.