The countdown for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 has officially begun. With just over two months remaining for the tournament to kick off, the ICC has made changes to the World Cup schedule and released the updated fixture list. All 10 participating teams are required to announce their 15-member squads by September 5th. However, changes can be made to these squads until September 27th. Hosts India also need to finalize their squad of 15 players for the World Cup. Here, we discuss the 20 players who could potentially make it to the Indian team. Among them, 10 players have secured their places in the team, but the competition for the remaining five spots will be fierce.
Team India’s Journey in the World Cup Campaign
The World Cup campaign for Team India will begin on October 8th against Australia in Chennai. With just two months to go, there are many questions surrounding the team. From Shreyas-Rahul’s injuries to the coordination of fast bowlers, the management needs to find answers to various queries in these two months. Both Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur are expected to get chances in the Asia Cup and the series against Australia. This will be their opportunity to establish themselves as the third frontline fast bowler before the World Cup.
Changes and Challenges in the Squad
The availability of injured players KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will undoubtedly bring significant changes to the Indian team. Their absence opens the door for Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav. Furthermore, the selection of the third spinner and the third fast bowler also poses challenges. Jasprit Bumrah is recovering from a lower-back stress fracture, and while he is making a comeback after proving his fitness, Mohammad Shami and Mohammed Siraj have secured their places as well.
The Spin and Fast Bowling Dynamic
Hardik Pandya will assume the role of the fourth fast bowler, with expectations for him to bowl around six to eight overs in each match. In this context, the role of the reserve fast bowler becomes crucial. In terms of performance and quality, Shardul Thakur is a strong contender. He showcased his capability by taking eight wickets in three ODIs against West Indies. However, Jaydev Unadkat brings left-arm variety to the team and could be beneficial.
Selection Dilemmas and Reserves
Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal are in contention for the role of the third spinner, but Chahal’s skill set closely resembles that of Ravindra Jadeja. Chahal is almost certain to play every match in the World Cup due to his consistent performance, whereas Akshar Patel, with his batting abilities, could be a better option.
Balancing Fitness and Performance
The team management is eager to ensure KL Rahul’s complete recovery for the upcoming Asia Cup. He is close to match fitness, but simulating match scenarios where he keeps wickets for 50 overs will be crucial. The management is also interested in using Rahul as a backup wicketkeeper, given his versatility. Additionally, Karnataka’s senior player Arshdeep Singh is a left-arm fast bowler who might be considered an option.
Final Selection and Expectations
With the West Indies series focusing on experimentation, Team India is likely to field a settled side for the upcoming matches. About 18-19 players are expected to play all the upcoming matches, out of which 15 will be selected for the World Cup. According to a BCCI source, “The selectors and team management want to give Rahul and Shreyas a full chance to recover. Rahul is ahead in terms of recovery and is nearing full match fitness. However, he needs to simulate match conditions where he keeps wickets for 50 overs.” The selection for the Asia Cup will be based on these factors.
The final squad for the Asia Cup and World Cup is expected to be announced by the end of this week or by mid-next week (by August 16-17).
Potential Players for ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 from India
Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma Wicketkeepers: Ishan Kishan, Lokesh Rahul, Sanju Samson All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur Spinners: Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal Fast Bowlers: Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Mukesh Kumar
Probable Playing XI for ICC Cricket World Cup
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.