Forget the buildup; this India squad can win the World Cup
The Indian squad for the World Cup 2023 has been announced, and the 15 players picked are exactly what everyone expected. Fortunately, there are no surprises in the team, and there are enough reasons to justify all the selections.
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli will form a formidable top order, probably the finest in the competition. They have been doing heavy lifting for the last year, and their form has been quite good lately. Since 2022, the Indian top three have accumulated 33.93% of total runs at a fantastic average of 52.05 in the ODIs.
Ever since Shubman Gill started to open, the powerplay run rate has also been quite good. Since 2022, India have had the best average (45) and the third-best strike rate (80.92) in the first ten overs among all the World Cup teams.
Shreyas Iyer, who will bat at No. 4, has 832 runs at an average of 48.94 and struck at 93.58 in the ODIs since 2022. He has also amassed six half-centuries and a century. While Iyer is coming off an injury, his selection was still obvious, and this Asia Cup and the Australia series before the event will help him get into the groove.
KL Rahul has 742 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 99.33 at No. 5 in the ODIs. His presence will be crucial, and the team would hope he gets some game time before the World Cup. Rahul hasn’t played competitive cricket since May, when he injured his thigh, for which he underwent a surgery abroad.
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will act as all-rounders, which will provide the balance to the team. Hardik averages 38.91 and strikes at 97.90 and has taken 17 wickets at 29.17 balls apiece since 2022. He is a man of crisis for the Indian team as Hardik steps up for his team in crunch situations.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja has 163 runs at an average of 32.60 and a strike rate of 60.14 with the willow. Additionally, he has snared 9 wickets at a strike rate of 36.66 since 2022.
Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah will take the bowling responsibilities for the team. Kuldeep’s resurgence meant there was no place for Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad.
Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are the joint highest wicket-taker (22) for India this year. Kuldeep has taken around 23.86 balls to take a wicket, while Siraj takes a wicket every 17.36 balls in 2023. Meanwhile, Bumrah has looked in complete flow since his comeback and will lead the side.
The only selection dilemma for team management is between Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami. From Rohit’s statement, it seems like India will prefer Shardul over Shami to increase the batting depth.
“We wanted to sort the batting depth because that's what we have been missing in the past year. We ended up getting 265 against Pakistan. If we got another 10-15 runs, that would've put us in a much more commanding position,” stated Rohit.
We talk in detail about why this move might be a wrong move in the World Cup here.
The remaining three players in the squad are Axar Patel, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. While Kishan has made every opportunity count in ODIs, he will still have to sit out. Since 2022, the southpaw has 716 runs at a fantastic average of 51.14 and a strike rate of 105.13 in the ODIs. It just shows the depth in the current Indian circuit.
Axar Patel will act as a backup for Ravindra Jadeja, and he might be in consideration only if the surface is a rank-turner or assisting spinners more than the speedsters. Axar’s rise as an all-rounder has been immense in all the formats, which paved the way for him.
Now, the biggest talking point has been the selection of Suryakumar Yadav over Sanju Samson. While it was an expected one, Samson might feel hard done by not being in the 15. Suryakumar has abysmal ODI numbers, while Sanju has been a consistent player. But the skillsets were the main reason for Suryakumar’s selection.
Suryakumar Yadav is a proven match-winner in the T20s, and the team expected similar returns from him in the longer format. While he has failed to perform as expected, his superior expertise in dismantling any bowling unit worked in his favour. The team sees him as a runaway match-winner and has given him a good run as well for this very reason.
While Suryakumar is not a first-choice in the XI, India can use him as a floater if he plays. Meanwhile, Sanju Samson’s best position is No. 5, and India already have KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan for that position. The Indian team sees better potential in Suryakumar despite his horrid run, and that led to his selection despite doing absolutely nothing.
The team worked a lot on Surya’s ODI game in the last few months, so it was a wise decision to give him a nod ahead of Samson. Suryakumar also showed confidence before the start of the Asia Cup, meaning he is ready to turn the tables. They are at least giving ample backing and putting trust in their players, which is a positive sign.
Prasidh Krishna was another unlucky bowler not to make it to the squad. He took 19 wickets at a strike rate of 27.52 before an injury last year ruled him out completely. His hit-the-deck skills might have been handy, but there is hardly any place to accommodate Prasidh Krishna for now.
All in all, India have selected the best set of players possible and will start the World Cup as one of the favourites. This squad has the experience and skillsets to win the trophy. The players are in-form, and the injured ones are also making a timely return.
A lot has been said and done in the past couple of years, but it’s time to implement them on the field. An ICC trophy has been eluding the Indian team for the last ten years. This squad will have a chance to bring glory to the team after a long exile.