Abhishek Sharma highlights Indian cricket’s ‘problem’ of plenty

Abhishek Sharma after scoring his century against Zimbabwe in the 2nd test in the series (Image: BCCI)

In a video message that has now gone viral, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said that he was hopeful India would win the Champions Trophy and the World Test Championship final under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. Coming on the back of the T20 World Cup win, this could be a historic treble for India. And may we say, it is very possible. Not just because India are a good side, but also because the talent pool is enormous. That’s what gives us hope that, with the trophy jinx broken, the next few years could be All India. 

A look at what happened in Zimbabwe yesterday proves the point. On Saturday, India lost a close game and the fickle cricket fan did not waste any time in suggesting that these were all IPL heroes who weren’t ready for the international game. 

After Sunday, the very same fans have started to suggest that Abhishek Sharma should be a part of India’s Mission 2026. Leaving the fan aside, Abhishek’s innings proved two things. First, the next generation is ready. And second, there will be competition for every spot, and that’s what makes Indian cricket the bastion that it now is. 

Had Abhishek not taken his chance yesterday, he could well have conceded his spot to Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has now reached Zimbabwe. Jaiswal did not get a single game at the T20 World Cup and will be hungry. Another failure from Abhishek, and VVS Laxman, the coach in Zimbabwe, would surely have gone to Jaiswal for game three. When you add Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishaan Kishan to the mix, you are speaking of five enormously talented players competing for two spots.

That’s what it is all about – bench strength. You have replacements for every spot in the top order, and despite Virat Kohli and Rohit walking into the T20I sunset, Indian cricket is very well served. What is also important is what each of them bring to the table. Abhishek, the flavour of social media for the moment, could well be the all-round option that India has been looking for. With Ravindra Jadeja no longer there, India would want someone who can bowl decent left-arm spin. While Axar Patel has established himself as the premier all-rounder, Abhishek has all the talent to be the second. He is a better batter than most, and a handy left-arm spinner who can easily chip in with two or three overs. 

Most importantly, he can win you games single-handedly at the top. His ability to explode, fashioned during the IPL, makes a serious difference at the top of the order. Abhishek, for the record, was on 39 off 27 balls at one stage. From the next 20 balls he faced, he scored 61. He is the one who will allow Gill to play a few more balls before he attacks. This was what happened with Gaikwad. He could play himself in, and only when Abhishek got out did he cut loose. 

With Jaiswal joining the team, Gill will soon be under pressure to perform. While he is all class, he needs to score big in the face of competition. Such is the talent pool that even Gill, considered the next big thing in Indian cricket, might have to give way if he isn’t consistent enough. 

So, let me add to what Shah said. With the 2026 T20 World Cup on home soil, there is no reason to believe India will not mount a strong challenge for the title. There will be two more years for this team to get better, and with the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Axar around, and Arshdeep Singh getting better, india will surely have a chance. 

For the moment, sanity has been restored in Zimbabwe. Saturday was just an aberration. Much like Sachin Tendulkar launched a brutal assault on Henry Olonga in Sharjah, after Olonga had celebrated his dismissal wildly in an earlier game, the young Indian side landed a collective hammer blow on Sikandar Raza’s men. A comprehensive win was always expected, but what will now be interesting to see is how much game time everyone gets. How does the management fit Jaiswal in with Abhishek and Gaikwad firing? And what happens to Shivam Dube? 

India could easily field two teams at the moment, and both are more than capable of beating Zimbabwe, the odd Saturday-like aberration notwithstanding.