With the IPL 2022 coming to an end, India’s attention will soon shift to the T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia in October and November. With India’s preparations set to begin with a five-match series against South Africa, the team for which was revealed yesterday, here’s a look at how they’re preparing to make up for last year’s campaign.

KL Rahul (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (vc, wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal

At last year’s T20 World Cup, India’s top-four were Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav. There was a chance to explore a new approach with three of the aforementioned four resting or nursing injuries ahead of South Africa’s arrival, but India seemed to be wary of tampering with this aspect of their game.

Gaikwad retains his spot in the team despite a lackluster IPL season after his Orange Cap-winning heroics the previous year, with 368 runs at a strike rate of 126.46. In contrast to the likes of Rahul Tripathi (413 runs at 158.23 SR) and Sanju Samson (374 runs at 147.24 SR), who sacrifice consistency for intentional adventurism, the selectors and team management have opted to retain trust in another anchor-style batter.

Surprisingly, India used Samson as an opener against Sri Lanka in their previous T20I in February, with skipper Rohit Sharma praising his match-winning talents as well as his backfoot play, which would be handy in Australia, where the World Cup will be held this year. Although Samson and Tripathi play low-percentage cricket, they are unique, and their style would benefit from additional support.