Rahul Tripathi was surprisingly missing from India’s T20I squad for the upcoming series against West Indies. The BCCI announced a squad majorly featuring IPL stars for the five T20Is against the Men in Maroon. Hardik Pandya will lead the team, while the likes of Tilak Varma, Mukesh Kumar, and Yashasvi Jaiswal are in line to make their T20I debuts.
While the addition of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma to the T20I squad is welcome, it is baffling to understand why Rahul Tripathi did not receive a place in the team. Not long ago, Tripathi received the label of being an intent player who would play at a fantastic strike in the top order.
However, Tripathi will not be on the flight to the West Indies later this month. Here’s a list of three reasons why dropping the right-handed batter was not the right move.
#1 Rahul Tripathi performed decently in the five matches he played for India
Tripathi made his T20I debut earlier this year in a match against Sri Lanka at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The right-handed batter played five T20Is until February 1, scoring 97 runs. While his average was less than 20, his strike rate was around 145.
Notably, he played an impactful knock of 44 runs off 22 deliveries in his last T20I knock, which was his highest score in five innings. Still, he did not receive a place in the Indian T20I squad for the West Indies tour.
Tripathi has the ability to change the momentum of the game by hitting big shots right from the word ‘go’. Grooming him for the T20 World Cup next year would have been a good move if the team management is indeed looking beyond the senior players.
#2 IPL 2023 has not been entirely considered for team selection
If the team was selected purely based on IPL 2023, it would have been fair to ignore Rahul Tripathi. The right-handed batter had an ordinary season with the Sunrisers Hyderabad this year, where he scored 273 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of less than 130.
However, the T20I squad has not been selected only on the basis of IPL 2023. The likes of Rinku Singh and Akash Madhwal, who impressed in IPL are missing, whereas a couple of players who were not regular members of their IPL team’s playing XI have been picked in the T20I squad.
#3 Team management could have tried him in another batting position before dropping him
If the team management wanted to try another player at number three, they could have moved Rahul Tripathi to another position instead of dropping him from the squad straight away.
Rahul Tripathi has batted from opening to number eight positions in his IPL career and has a decent record at almost every position. Perhaps, the finisher’s role could have been allotted to him.
India will play a lot of T20I matches before the T20 World Cup next year. It will be interesting to see if Rahul Tripathi is recalled to the team.
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