Three IPL 2023 performers who could break into India's 2023 World Cup squad
Even as the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) retains the centre stage, Indian fans are keenly anticipating the resumption of the senior Indian team's build-up towards the 2023 World Cup, to be held in October-November.
After a couple of years of T20I hogging most of the attention spans and focus for the Indian team, with two consecutive T20 World Cups in UAE and Australia, the 50-overs game is back in thoughts and conscience as India strive to regain the biggest ICC title after 12 years in home conditions.
The selectors and the management have also seemingly got their plans ready for the quadrennial event, prioritising the One-Day game with the experienced heads of the side at the height of the last season, where the team rested greats Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma from T20Is versus Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
The only worry for the decision-makers, however, would be the spree of injuries in the set-up, notably to ace speedster Jasprit Bumrah but also all of the side's premier middle-order incumbents in Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Among this lot, Pant is unlikely to appear for the side for another year and a half after undergoing a horrific accident while Iyer and Rahul are on recovery trail from respective surgeries.
Just when India were looking settled with No.4-5 ahead of the World Cup, they have unfortunately hit a roadblock and now enter a search for quality backups as the depth and quality within the playing ranks become pertinent to the cause.
This depth has been on display in the ongoing IPL 2023, in which multiple World Cup contenders have been giving their absolute best and could be inducted into the ODI set-up as early as June when India host Afghanistan for three games with the likelihood of senior players getting rested. Below is a list of three such contenders who could well earn themselves a World Cup ticket.
Three IPL 2023 performers looking good for 2023 World Cup spot
A horrific three consecutive first-ball ducks versus Australia in March may have bolstered calls for Suryakumar Yadav's axing from the ODI set-up, but the team management is unlikely to go down that path just yet. With coach Rahul Dravid shrewdly recognising that the mix of approach in a T20I-dominant calendar has dented SKY's wings, there is a strong likelihood of the aggressive right-hander continuing to relish that faith in the assignments ahead.
Given his ability and range on display versus pace and spin, there is little to no reason why Suryakumar can't ace the ODI game, too. What the player may require is a more relaxed setting and entry slot in the game, not having to just walk in and blast the opposition attacks down the order.
It would allow him to properly adjust to the rigours of the One-Day game and conquer the unconquered territory. And no one can doubt the impact value Suryakumar brings to the table when in song, something IPL 2023 attacks have faced the brunt of. Overcoming initial strife, the player now has a tally of 479 runs in 12 innings at a strike-rate of 190.84.
While skipper and one-day great Rohit and rising prodigy Shubman Gill seem to have forged a solid opening pair at the top, the backup opener's slot remains an issue for the Indian team to immediately resolve. The think-tank has been willing to provide Ishan Kishan the game time whenever it can, but despite his double hundred versus Bangladesh in December, the young left-hander hasn't been able to nail a spot for himself yet.
With Kishan facing question marks on his range and technique against spin and pace, the race to bag that backup opener's slot has opened up for multiple young performers currently shining in IPL 2023. Among those in contention, Rajasthan Royals (RR) opener Yashavi Jaiswal seems to be breaking the door open with each outing.
Jaiswal, who underwent a bumper domestic first-class season for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy this winter and performed exceedingly well for India 'A', has enjoyed an unprecedented high with the bat for Royals in the premier T20 tournament this summer. The 21-year-old has blasted 575 runs in 13 innings of IPL 2023 at a spectacular average of 47.98 and strike-rate of 166.18, including a maiden IPL century.
Going back to India's middle-order fix, if the selectors wish to spread the net wider at a time when there is uncertainty around multiple incumbents, one of the beneficiaries of the scenario could be uncapped Uttar Pradesh left-hander Rinku Singh. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) aggressor has been in scintillating form for the two-time champions in IPL 2023, helping them ace the end-overs phase and propelling them past the finish line.
Rinku's impact, however, hasn't been limited to just the end-overs blitz. He has been able to transform into a calculative grafter when the situation requires. It was evident when he walked into a tricky run-chase versus Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the last game after a top-order collapse and struck a measured half-century to see his side home.
That was telling of the player's good base and range in the middle - something that would help his prospects if he were to transition to the top-level game. Rinku has a tally of 403 runs in IPL 2023 with a strike-rate of 143.31 and a career aggregate of 1,749 List A runs at an average of 53 and strike-rate of 95.15.