After a heartbreaking loss in the final of the ODI World Cup 2023, Indian team management has begun planning for the T20 World Cup 2024 to bring an end to India’s ten-year-long ICC Trophy drought. The selectors are looking to give chances to youngsters ahead of the tournament and many experts feel that Team India should go into the event with a young side without stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
However, former India all-rounder and 2007 T20 World Cup-winning player Irfan Pathan is of the opinion that India should head into the T20 World Cup having both experience and youth in their team. Pathan reasoned that it was the same case in 2007 as well where team India had several experienced guys such as Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh along with youngsters.
“I feel Indian team should combine experience and youth. When we won the last T20 World Cup, in 2007, many said it was a young and inexperienced team that won the title, but that wasn’t it. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had been playing for a while then. Me and Dhoni were also part of team for almost four years. There was also Ajit Agarkar, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh as well. So you have to combine experience with youth especially for those conditions where batting gets a bit tricky,” said Pathan on Star Sports.
India became champions in 2007 against the odds
Notably, ahead of the T20 World Cup 2007, senior players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble had opted out of the tournament and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) announced a new captain in MS Dhoni. The Men in Blue came into the tournament as underdogs and surprised everyone as they were crowned the champions of the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup by beating Pakistan by five runs in the final.
Irfan Pathan was awarded Player of the Match in the final as he picked 3/16 in four overs which included scalps of Shoaib Malik, Irfan Pathan and Yasir Arafat. The left-arm seamer was also the second-highest wicket-taker for India with ten scalps to his name.