As the 2024 T20 World Cup looms on the horizon, Ravi Bishnoi's inclusion in India's T20I squad against South Africa signals a strategic shift in the team's dynamics.
At 23, the leg-spinner appears to have leapfrogged veteran Yuzvendra Chahal, becoming a pivotal force in India's spin arsenal.
Ravi Bishnoi shines vs Australia
With a remarkable tally of 18 wickets in 11 matches this year and a stellar 'Player of the Series' performance against Australia, Bishnoi's unique spin artistry is capturing the cricketing spotlight.
In a landscape dominated by googlies and swift deliveries, Bishnoi's journey is not just a generational transition but a compelling narrative poised to reshape India's quest for T20 World Cup glory.
Bishnoi's rise in international cricket
Despite the age difference, Bishnoi's prominence wasn't merely a generational shift; it was backed by impressive performances. In the current year, Chahal played nine T20Is, claiming nine wickets, while Bishnoi featured in 11 matches, taking an impressive tally of 18 wickets.
In the recent series against Australia, Bishnoi emerged as India's standout bowler, earning the title of 'Player of the Series' with nine wickets in five matches.
His initial struggles in the first match were overshadowed by his resilience and adaptability in subsequent games.
Different from the rest
Bishnoi's bowling showcased a unique pattern, relying on a series of googlies to unsettle the batsmen. Unlike Chahal, he wasn't a big turner of the ball but utilised his quick deliveries to make it skid off the surface, catching batsmen off guard.
Australian skipper Matthew Wade acknowledged the challenge of facing Bishnoi, praising his impact on the game.
Even on batting-friendly tracks, Bishnoi's ability to control the game during the Power Play and his knack for taking wickets stood out.
Muralitharan analyses Bishnoi's bowling
Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan highlighted Bishnoi's distinctive style, emphasising his quick deliveries and ability to make the ball slide, especially on helpful wickets.
Bishnoi's dismissal of Travis Head, a constant thorn for India, showcased his effectiveness in breaking crucial partnerships.
Problem of Plenty for Team India
Despite Bishnoi's impressive performances, he faces tough competition from senior spinners like Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja for a spot in the playing eleven.
However, his strong showing has established him as a viable third spinner option for India, crucial for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA, where spinners might find favourable conditions.
In the words of a former India spinner, "Bishnoi has effortlessly stepped into the shoes of someone like Chahal, and I hope he continues to do so. Having three quality spinners will undoubtedly give the team a significant edge in the T20 World Cup."