You want a specialist T20 side in order to rest the Test and ODI players. I think that such rest is not entirely necessary. Other than the T20 WC which is every few years, there is only 1-3 T20s played on a tour. These games are short and will not impact too much on a player. A long tournament will impact a player, but every few years, this is a risk worth taking in pursuit of a trophy. I wish to have my Indian T20 team based on IPL performances first and ODI performances second. If you have a high quality ODI player like MS Dhoni, chances are he will be able to contribute in T20 (and he does!). The same goes for Kevin Pietersen who used to have a modest T20 record but quickly picked up the game and is now one of the world's finest in the format.
I think Balaji was a good selection for India in the World T20. He showed excellent form in the IPL 2012 which shows that how he was bowling at the moment was suited to the format. The selection paid off as he averaged 9.77 in the tournament.
Ashwin did not have a great IPL in terms of taking wickets, but he has shown in international cricket to be a reliable bowler, one who will not let the team down. Moreover, the career economy rate of 6.48 really does stick out. You think economy rate is not important, but if a team is 100/1 off 14 overs and cannot accelerate because the bowler is too good, they will not have a formidable target. On retrospect, I think Chawla's selection for the squad is justified by the numbers, even though I think he is too poor, off his day, to risk him in a starting XI.
Harbhajan, in addition to Ashwin, boasts the great career economy rate. You argue that he went for runs against Australia but surely you in hindsight must see that this is a poor argument, to cite one game against a career! He had a poor IPL though and I could see the argument against his selection. Mishra would not have been a choice for me though. He went for 8.02 runs an over and averaged 29.00. I'd take Harbhajan averaging 64.00 and going for 7.11 an over, over that. Mishra's great career record is something to marvel at but surely such a poor IPL would be testament to the dreadful form he was in! I can definitely see the logic in having Mishra over Harbhajan though and so I don't think we need to discuss that particular one any more.
Irfan Pathan is another example of a poor selection, imo. He took 8 wickets at 58.12 in the recent IPL. That showed that how he was bowling was not getting enough wickets. The economy of 7.75 confirmed this. He does swing the ball so he will produce the odd good spell but this does not vindicate selection against the figures. The T20I economy of 8.02 shows that he is an expensive bowler and average of 22.07 doesn't exactly justify that.
Aravind was a one-season wonder in IPL. His last four T20s have yielded...
0/69 off 4
1/55 off 4
1/33 off 4
0/48 off 3.
You cannot select someone off the back of that!
Mahesh is routinely taken apart by IPL teams, as shown here
. He is a wicket taker, but not enough of one to justify a nearly 9 economy rate!
So who would I have selected? Well, Zaheer Khan had an okay IPL 2012 and is an excellent bowler of the new white ball. He is our best new ball bowler and I'd have him in. T20I economy of 7.63 is not great but not terrible and 17 wickets in IPL 2012 at good rates shows he was performing okay. Harbhajan, Ashwin and Mishra/Chawla (squad member) all have places in my team. I would have put Dinda in my T20 squad based on his IPL but his performance against Afghanistan would have kept him out of the XI from then on. Balaji walks into my squad and starting XI.
7. MS Dhoni
8. Harbhajan Singh
9. R Ashwin
10. Zaheer Khan
11. L Balaji
Yuvraj Singh plays as fifth bowler.
Reserves: Mishra/Chawla, Dinda, ???
The ??? is probably Awana. He bowled well in the IPL and even though Yadav had a better economy than him, this is because Yadav played in a considerably better team that often ran through the opposition and so he'd bowl just to tailenders trying to bat the overs. Yadav could be very expensive and wayward.
The batting I would have chosen would have been the same batting that India chose. Looking at this
, Dhawan and Rahane had good IPLs but our first string batting all have great career records and good enough IPLs to keep them in. Also, I don't think Dhawan can handle international quality bowling well enough to translate his consistency.
It is too idealistic to look to change after every defeat. This was the best team we had, they just were not good enough. The fact is that India lost one
game, where the batting did not fire and the bowlers wilted under attack from a small target. It happens to all teams, even the best of teams.
Just finally, you say other countries often play T20 specialists so why cannot India. These guys are specialists because they have good, long career records and in the case of Luke Wright, was in good form. Mishra has a good record and I've conceded that over the long term, he should play more T20Is. Yadav and Chitnis are totally unproven - no other team puts totally unproven batsmen in international cricket! As for Dhoni hanging up his T20I boots, I think that is ridiculous, he is an excellent batsman in the format and won us the game today!