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Is Rinku a strong contender for T20 World Cup berth?

Last updated on: December 03, 2023 14:16 IST

Rinku Singh bats during the fourth T20I against Australia in Raipur on December 1, 2023

IMAGE: Rinku Singh bats during the fourth T20I against Australia in Raipur on December 1, 2023. Photograph: BCCI

Rinku Singh has emerged a strong "contender" for the finisher's role in India's T20 World Cup squad, according to Ashish Nehra.

The former India pacer though believes that the slot the explosive left-hander is eyeing "has many challengers".

The T20 World Cup will be played in the West Indies and the USA in June next year.


Rinku is blazing form in the ongoing five-match T20I series against Australia.

In the fourth match in Raipur on Friday, his 46 off 29 balls was crucial in India's 3-1 series-clinching 20-run victory.

"There is no doubt that Rinku Singh is a contender for inclusion in India's T20 World Cup squad," the former left-arm pacer told JioCinema.

"But the World Cup is still far away and the spot he's fighting for has many challengers," Nehra added.

Rinku has played some defining knocks in the ongoing series. His 31 not out off nine balls played a big role in India's 44-run victory in the second T20I at Thiruvananthapuram.

With no clarity on whether Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be in India's scheme of things for the global showpiece, there could be major changes in the T20 squad for the World Cup and Rinku could be a leading contender for the slog overs.

"You can look at Jitesh Sharma (wicketkeeper-batter) and Tilak Varma. We'll have to discuss the positions where Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya will play," the cricketer-turned-commentator said.

"So, we have to see how many spots are available in the 15-member squad. But one thing is sure, he (Rinku) has opened everyone's eyes and put everyone under pressure. But there's still a lot of time to go. The trip to South Africa is coming up followed by the IPL."

Nehra defended India's young pace attack, which has received flak for leaking 200-plus totals in the first three T20Is against Australia.

The squad for the five-match series is without bowling stalwarts Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

"The conditions for the first three matches were different and a lot of the bowlers have changed. Your experienced bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have been rested.

"If you speak of Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar, they have just been introduced to international cricket. And then we saw over 200 runs being scored in the first three matches. So it's not that only the Indian bowlers leaked runs, even Australia's bowlers have given away a lot of runs.

"In these circumstances, Mukesh Kumar has been a big positive for India. The way he has bowled with wet balls, his execution of yorkers and bowling in the death overs has been terrific," added Nehra.