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CWC 2023: Shortlisting of 20 players by India should be followed by meticulous team selection

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: BCCI shortlist 20 players for 2023 Cricket World Cup. Probable list of players who can make to the list of 20 players.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023_ India selectors have shortlisted 20 players for Cricket World Cup 2023 _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
BCCI shortlisted 20 players for Cricket World Cup 2023 (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

The speed of international cricket nowadays is such that just months after India’s unsuccessful ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 campaign in Australia, the focus has shifted towards the upcoming ICC Men’s One Day International World Cup 2023 at home in October and November this year.

They will be officially on the road to the 2023 Cricket World Cup with nine ODI games that are scheduled to be played till March in their home summer with six more till CWC 2023 excluding Asia Cup 2023. India have played 45 ODIs since the 2019 World Cup and because of either injuries or workload management, only eight players have played 20 or more of those. India have used more than 45 players in this period.

BCCI shortlist 20 players for 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has shortlisted 20 players who are going to be a part of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. In the last BCCI review meeting, it was informed that these players will be rotated so that proper preparation is ensured before the tournament. This will allow the players to fix their issues and understand their positions for the huge assignment.

With few old faces having been omitted from the new ODI squad against Sri Lanka, India seem to be looking for some fresh legs for CWC 2023. Let’s try to discuss the areas under the scanner.

India vs SA, 1st T20I, 2022, Top Performances_ Ishan Kishan's 76 runs goes in vain as South Africa beat India in 1st T20I (Images ©BCCI)
Ishan scored double hundred in ODI against Bangladesh (Images: ©BCCI)

Ishan Kishan ahead of dropped Shikhar Dhawan in top-order

Top-Order candidates: Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill

Without a shadow of doubt, the top three have been traditionally India’s main strength in ODIs but just like the recent T20Is, the debate is on how India need to be more dynamic in that area. And their decision to drop veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan has hinted towards their new thought process. The left-hander has a strike rate of 83 since the 2019 ODI World Cup, which is low in comparison with the dashing openers from other teams.

Even though India have been the second-quickest team in the powerplay in the post-2019 CWC period after England, the stats say that in the 11 matches that all three of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have played in, India’s powerplay run rate has dropped from 5.41 to 4.97.

With skipper Rohit Sharma firm at the opening slot, India have looked to offer more chances to Ishan Kishan who in the Chattogram ODI against Bangladesh, coming as a replacement for injured Rohit, grabbed the opportunity with both hands; he cracked 210 runs at a strike rate of 160.31 which is actually the template that all the players need to follow.

Virat Kohli too has been in good touch scoring 1185 runs in 28 innings at a strike rate of 93.08 in the post-2019 CWC period, and is set to take the number three position in the team. India have a good back-up opening weapon too in the form of Shubman Gill who has scored 687 runs in 15 games at a strike rate of 99.13 and an average of 57.25. All in all, India’s top-order seems to be in good hands if most of them click at the right time.

Rishabh Pant met with a tragic car accident recently (Images: ©BCCI)
Rishabh Pant met with a tragic car accident recently (Images: ©BCCI)

Pant’s probable exclusion may damage left-right balance in the middle order

Middle Order contenders: KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant

It was the middle order where India lacked firepower during the last 50-overs World Cup. There were not crystal-clear plans about their number four throughout the whole season and in the vital game against New Zealand in the semi-final, when they lost early wickets, they were still struggling to find their player at the number four slot.

However, the options they have tried in the last three odd years for that particular position in the form of Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant have brought some good results for India. But Pant had an unfortunate car accident a few weeks ago where his injured knee ligament has raised questions over his participation in the 2023 Cricket World Cup. Pant’s exclusion could mean India will lose the balance of having a left-hander in the middle overs to tackle the spinners.

KL Rahul who out of his 22 matches since the last ODI World Cup has batted in the top-order (1-3) in 10 innings, has managed only mediocre results with 358 runs in those outings at a strike rate of 79.02 as compared to a strike rate of 94.87 logged overall during this period.

Shreyas Iyer who scored most runs for India across formats in 2022, has almost cemented his place in the side. His specialty of not letting the spinners get set will be so vital for the blue brigade.

India will expect to see Rishabh Pant getting back into full fitness who has scored 656 runs in 18 innings since the last ODI World Cup. India will still be able to play both Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav whose recent form is hard to ignore in the middle order, as Ishan Kishan then can put on the wicketkeeping gloves.

Eng vs Ind, 1st T20I, Top Performances_ Hardik Pandya’s all-round show (51 & 4-33) gives India 1-0 lead _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI/Twitter)
Hardik Pandya holds the key for India in lower-order (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja to be main weapons in all-rounders section

All-rounders contenders: Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed

Hardik Pandya is India’s only proper fast bowling all-rounder who can bat sensibly with the lower order; once Ravindra Jadeja gets back to the Indian team, without a doubt he should be India’s first choice in the all-rounders section along with Pandya.

Pandya has played just 10 ODI games since the 2019 ODI World Cup scoring 429 runs in 10 innings at a strike rate of 115.63; he has taken 9 wickets at a strike rate of 29.3 and an economy of 5.52.

Ravindra Jadeja besides scoring 335 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 94.90 and has picked 13 wickets at a strike rate of 63.2 and an economy of 5.42.

However, the way Axar Patel has performed in the last few months has been extraordinary. He has batted with a strike rate of 120 in the post-2019 CWC period while spending runs at an economy of less than five. On the other hand, Washington Sundar who in the lone possible ODI against New Zealand at the end of last year scored a blistering 37*; he could also find himself in the race bringing variety with his off spin.

Jasprit Bumrah conceded fifty runs rom 4 overs against Australia in 3rd T20I _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Bumrah is yet to return to international cricket post Injury (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Bumrah’s comeback will strengthen bowling attack

Bowling contenders: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar

India’s bowling is one of the departments of late where they don’t need to find contenders; most of them are doing good whenever they are getting opportunities. A fit Jasprit Bumrah will add more strength in the line-up along with Mohammed Shami. But the new squad that will take on Sri Lanka a few days later suggests that India have started to look beyond Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With Deepak Chahar in the race, they will look for Mohammed Siraj too.

Bumrah’s quality is unquestionable, although in the post-2019 CWC period he has 18 wickets in 14 games at a strike rate of 44.3 and an economy of 5.16 bowling mostly in the powerplay and death overs. These figures, however, are not that solid as compared to Bumrah’s overall ODI figures where he has scalped 121 wickets in 72 games at a strike rate of 31.4 and an economy of 4.63.

Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh who is yet to take an ODI wicket in three games can still be a great option, especially after proving himself in the shortest format of the game. India could also look to explore the raw pace of Umran Malik.

With most all-rounders being spinners, India don’t need to look beyond Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the spin bowling department. Chahal is India’s second-highest wicket-taker since the 2019 ODI World Cup as he has picked up 34 wickets in just 18 games at a strike rate of 29.3 and an economy of 5.7. Kuldeep Yadav is the third-highest wicket-taker and has recorded 26 wickets in 22 games at a strike rate of 45.5 and an economy of 5.76.

Should India have waited more before finalising the 20 players?

The 20 players are yet to be declared but is it a right move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to finalise the list with still 9-10 months in hand for the 2023 CWC? To be fair, it’s going to be really beneficial for the players to understand their abilities and for the team management to fix the few spots where they need to work on.

It has been seen in the past that last minute experiments for India have always affected their planning in some way but in this new scheme, they know which set of players are going to be picked. All these players should be given a longer run but the suggestion of BCCI that some vital players who will be part of CWC 2023 should be rested by respective franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, has come under the scanner. Even few of the IPL franchises have also mentioned that the BCCI officials shouldn’t have any control on team selection in IPL 2023.

India will now play a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka where the first game will be played on January 10 at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati. The next two ODIs will be played on January 12 and 15, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, respectively.


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