'It gives me an opportunity' - Shastri's unique suggestion for India's World Cup XI
Ravi Shastri came out with an extraordinary suggestion for India prior to their 2023 World Cup campaign. While over time the Indian team has developed a strategy of fielding three specialist seamers plus lead wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav and two premier allrounders in Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Shastri believes there is scope for one more allrounder in the playing XI.
Shastri's remarks came on Star Sports' 'Selection Day' show and were supported by fellow guest speaker and former India chief selector Sandeep Patil as the duo reignited discussions on the composition of the Indian team set to embark on the quest to reclaim the World Cup trophy.
For Shastri and Patil, teammates for India's pathbreaking 1983 World Cup triumph, it's important that the selectors and the management field multiple allround options in the side in the way that the Kapil Dev-led side did with the presence of Shastri, Mohinder Amarnath and Kirti Azad.
Shastri proposed that even backup allrounders Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel can be included in the Rohit Sharma-led team. To make space for his strategy within the squad, the ex cricketer said he would keep Sanju Samson in the standbys rather than naming him as the backup wicketkeeper in the main contingent.
Shastri's eye-raising proposal for Indian World Cup team
"I think to be fair, I will go with both the all-rounders - Axar and Shardul, it gives me an opportunity. And keep Sanju Samson on standby in case something happens to the keeper there, where he can just fly out," Shastri said.
The Indian team under coach Rahul Dravid has shown the tendency to bat up until No.8 by picking Thakur above a specialist third pacer, which is a theme likely to continue when the team makes it to the World Cup on home shores.
It is very unlikely, however, that the side would compromise on a genuine wicket-taking option in Kuldeep for an extra fingerspinner and allrounder in Axar.
"So, now you start with the pacers because, for me, the pacers are important. If you need four over there, you already have one all-rounder (Pandya)," Shastri said.
"So, if Bumrah is fit, he walks in. Shami walks in – that's two. You've got Siraj as a backup, and if needed, Shardul can be there. Shardul has done well in the West Indies one-day game; he can be a backup. And then you have room for one more."