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HomeCricket OpinionAnalysis: What should India's batting lineup be for the T20 World Cup?

Analysis: What should India’s batting lineup be for the T20 World Cup?

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Last Updated on 1 month by Charbel Coorey

In an ideal world, Kohli and Jaiswal should open in India’s batting lineup. Or perhaps Kohli and the audacious Abhishek Sharma. However, fortunately or unfortunately, the current question is: who will accompany Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper, at the top of the order – Virat or Yashasvi?

Depending on India’s choice, the rest of the batting line-up will take shape. If India opens with Yashasvi Jaiswal, Kohli will drop down to the less ideal No. 3 role, with either Samson or Pant squeezed between SKY and Hardik at No. 5. If India opens with Virat Kohli, it allows for the inclusion of the hard-hitting Shivam Dube in the middle order.

Personally, I would open the batting with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. It’s harsh on Yashasvi (1,475 runs, SR: 160 since the start of 2023), but with Rohit being a fix at the top of the order, one can’t help it.

To be clear, Rohit Sharma is an exceptional batter, and I hold immense respect for him. I would be the happiest if he performs, but it is just that his numbers in this format of the game do not do justice, and that too over a humongous sample size. This thread below by Sai Krishna provides a deep dive into Rohit’s T20 game and is worth a read!

If anything, his Powerplay strike rate of 152 in the IPL this year stands out as a positive. India would be hoping that he can provide quick starts in WI & USA too, much like he did in the ODI World Cup last year.

Virat Kohli has also been exceptional, capitalizing on the field restrictions in the Powerplay. During the league stage of IPL 2024, Kohli amassed 343 runs (SR: 162) in the first six overs, second only to Travis Head. Against left-arm pace in the Powerplay – a bowling type that has troubled Rohit over the years – he scored 125 runs at a SR of 198.4 without being dismissed.

Does India’s possible batting lineup leave them exposed against spin?

However, Rohit-Virat paired at the top makes it easy for opposition sides to attack with left-arm spin. Although Kohli has made efforts to play with greater intent and has reintroduced the slog sweep against spin, resulting in improved numbers this year particularly in the Powerplay (62 runs, SR: 147.6), the small sample size still leaves room for concern regarding the potential vulnerability at the top of the order.

Interestingly, even Suryakumar Yadav – arguably the world’s best T20 batter at present – has a weakness against left-arm spin (IPL career AVG: 26, SR: 104.4), underscoring the critical need for India to include a batter with a strong match-up against left-arm spin in the top four. Enter Dube, Pant, and Samson, who could potentially fill this role.

Although Shivam Dube obliterates spin-bowling of any type and could very well slot into the top four, I believe India might look to use him more at No. 5, aiding Hardik Pandya towards the back end of the innings. While his spin-hitting prowess is well-known, Dube isn’t merely a spin-hitter anymore.

That said, it’s important to note that cricket isn’t a position game, it is a situation game. India must be fluid with the batting order. If need be, Dube, or anyone else can be promoted up the order.

Now, for the final spot – Sanju Samson or Rishabh Pant?

 Sanju SamsonRishabh Pant
RUNS504446
AVERAGE5640.5
STRIKE RATE156.5155.4
50s53


On a very basic statistical front, Samson has the better numbers.

If we go a little deeper:

 Sanju SamsonRishabh Pant
in the middle-oversAVG: 56.4. SR: 149.21AVG: 46.9, SR: 142.6
in the death-overs84* runs, SR: 210AVG: 23, SR: 242.1
vs. spin168* runs, SR: 138.8AVG: 30.6, SR: 119.5
vs. paceAVG: 37.3, SR: 167.2AVG: 48.8, SR: 184.3


*One must keep in mind that Pant played majority of his games in Delhi, one of the flattest and highest scoring venues this season.

For a No. 3/No. 4 role – where one must bat through the middle overs and confront a significant amount of spin – statistically, Samson emerges as the superior choice. Moreover, Sanju isn’t a one-season wonder either; since 2020 in the IPL, Sanju Samson has not only struck the most sixes (62) against spin but also ranks third highest in terms of runs scored, boasting an average and strike rate exceeding 50 and 150 respectively. Not to mention, he’s adept against pace as well.

Even if we keep all stats aside, just to the naked eye, Samson looked like the better batter.

Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge admirer of Rishabh Pant myself. His performance on return to top-flight cricket after a long and unfortunate hiatus this season was remarkable. However, if I were to choose between the two for a spot in the starting XI, it would undoubtedly be Sanju Samson.

But what if India decides to play SKY and Dube along with Rohit and Virat in the top 4? Even in that scenario, I’d back Sanju over the current version of Pant at No. 5. Samson possesses the range and skill to bat anywhere from No. 1-6 in white-ball cricket.

While the top 5 looks set, Hardik and Jadeja’s form is a massive concern for India. And that is where someone like a Rinku Singh (death-overs SR of 212.8 since 2022) might be dearly missed.

The batting line-up looks like:

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. Virat Kohli
  3. Sanju Samson
  4. Suryakumar Yadav
  5. Shivam Dube
  6. Hardik Pandya
  7. Ravindra Jadeja

Whilst opening with Jaiswal would offer India a left-right opening combination, it would deprive the side of a dynamic left-handed presence in the middle-order, and also necessitate Kohli’s move to an undesirable No. 3 position where he would frequently face spin early on. It probably does more harm than good.

Although unlikely, if Dube can contribute a couple of overs, India may also contemplate deploying an extra batter in the middle-order (Pant) to bat until No. 8, adopting an all-out aggressive approach. Or, if the opposition and conditions permit, they could opt to include another spin-bowling all-rounder in Axar Patel at No. 8, thereby extending the batting line-up.

In conclusion, India’s batting lineup presents a plethora of options and strategic dilemmas, each with its own set of advantages and challenges.

Let’s see what way India goes!

Sparsh Telang
Sparsh Telang
Sparsh Telang is a passionate India and Royal Challengers Bengaluru fan. Sparsh also has a passion for connecting with cricket fans around the world either via articles or YouTube, sharing his insights and analysis in a unique and engaging way.

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