2021 proved to be a significant year for several Indian cricketers. Some were granted their debuts, others continued performing as they did in previous years, and some failed to make their mark at all.
Whatever the reason, the following players certainly have a point to prove in 2022, which makes them the Top 7 male cricketers of Team India to watch out for this year.
This year, the former Kings XI Punjab skipper and Team India’s Test opening batter is one to look out for.
It is not often that a player gets to play across all three formats. Rahul has cemented his position in the Test side and the T20I side and will be looking to join the ODI side as well. He has proven to be a formidable red-ball and white-ball player.
Rahul has also been entrusted with the Test captaincy in the absence of Virat Kohli, which could become permanent in the near future. He stacked up a mammoth 626 runs in the IPL last year, and we can expect similar numbers across all formats this year as well.
It is no surprise that Jasprit Bumrah finds himself on this list. The pacer from Gujarat has been proving year after year that he is one of the finest bowlers across all three formats of the game. Bumrah is key to the Indian line-up in white-ball cricket and plays a massive role in red-ball cricket as well.
His role in Team India picking up two of the greatest-ever Test wins in 2021 will go down as some of the best spells of red-ball bowling ever. With the next T20I World Cup already in sight, Bumrah will be a definite watch when he comes on to bowl his spell of four overs.
One player who has not yet made his mark on international cricket but has become a sensation due to his performances in the IPL is Varun Chakravarthy. His ability to play the role of a mystery spinner helps him walk into any T20 side in the world today.
After his stunning performances in the purple of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Chakravarthy was given a go in the last T20I World Cup. Although he failed to deliver his best, it must be remembered that it was his first international outing. Considering that he does possess some international pedigree now, Chakravarthy is sure to be lethal this year, possibly during the upcoming T20I World Cup.
Quite often seen as a backup to Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel has usually found it hard to become a mainstay in the Team India side. However, last year, Patel grabbed his opportunities with both hands by impressing viewers with his performances against England as well as against the Kiwis at home.
India is set to host Sri Lanka in 2022, and Patel will indeed feature given his excellent record at home. He could come in handy as a second left-arm orthodox option in white-ball cricket as well if need be. His record in white-ball cricket, particularly his performances for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, are promising signs for Team India.
As far as names go, they don’t get any bigger than Virat Kohli, who finds his name to be an odd one out amongst his fellow compatriots given his age and experience. However, Kohli does indeed have a point to prove after his lean run of form in both Test cricket and white-ball cricket.
Kohli is currently out of the Test side due to a niggle in his back. He also failed to score a fifty in either innings of the first Test in South Africa. His last international hundred came in late 2019, which makes us ponder whether the Indian Test captain has something to prove in this year.
One of the younger players on this list, Ishan Kishan was given his opportunity in the white-ball series against Sri Lanka and in the T20I World Cup to prove his worth. Although he has not stamped his place in the side yet, he has shown promise. His aggressive batting style is much suited for the game’s shortest format.
Kishan has impressed with his performances for the Mumbai Indians but is struggling to find a place in the national side as an opening batter. However, if he finds himself at the top of the Indian T20I line-up, he is one to look out for in 2022.
Suryakumar Yadav has matured into a fine white-ball player for India. 2021 was the perfect breakthrough year for the Mumbai Indians’ right-handed player, who has now made an excellent impression for future tournaments.
Yadav finds himself batting with a dominant Strike Rate of 155 in T20Is and Averages nearly 35. It is said that the middle overs of a T20 game are the hardest for batters, but Suryakumar seems to be performing sublimely in that phase. Many will be looking forward to his role in the national side during 2022 and in the coming years.