India National Cricket Team
India National Cricket Team (Image Credits: Getty Images)

Last Update on: April 11th, 2023 at 01:40 pm

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Team India will have a few concerns and doesn’t look absolutely settled a year before the 50-overs World Cup. The endless chopping and changing are reminiscent of its selection troubles in previous World Cups. Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma now face the tough task of handling the change in leadership and building a strong team. Let’s see how Rohit and Co can line up for the marquee event. 

India’s batting has been their strength over the last few years. The team has been averaging 285 runs per game and has the third-best scoring rate since 2020 in ODIs.

India vs South Africa
India vs South Africa. Image Credits: BCCI

Predicted India Squad For ICC 2023 ODI World Cup

Top 3: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli

India’s top three – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli – are unlikely to change. It’s important to have openers who score fast and a number 3 who can anchor the innings. India has an average run rate of 5.3 runs per over in the powerplay, second only to England.

Dhawan may be getting on in age but he has been superb over the last few years. While Kohli has been a shadow of his past self, he’s still been an effective anchor. He has averaged 47 at a strike rate of 90 in the middle overs, providing India with a stable platform.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: BCCI

Nos. 4 and 5: Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul

India will likely persist with Rishabh Pant at number 4 and KL Rahul at 5. Both have played the role of aggressors in the middle overs. Rahul has found great success after moving down the order to number 5, scoring 453 runs at 56.63.

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KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. (Credits: Twitter)

Both Rahul and Pant have dominated spin, scoring at strike rates of 95.9 and 120.1, respectively. Because of them, India has been able to cruise at a good scoring rate in the middle overs without losing many wickets. Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav are also competing for a spot but, realistically, it will be hard to fit them in.

Rahul and Pant are not likely to be dropped, Ravindra Jadeja will bat at 7 and India needs a second all-rounder at 6.

Nos. 6 and 7: Hardik Pandya/Venkatesh Iyer/Deepak Hooda

India has one of the best run rates at death, mainly because of Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. Unfortunately, Pandya has had fitness issues. Without him, India would need a sixth bowler and another finisher.

Venkatesh Iyer is the closest India has to a replacement for Pandya. His List A numbers are great and he has had success in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year while batting in the middle order. However, he has failed to impress in his few international appearances and was dropped at the first sign of trouble.

Hardik Pandya (Image Credits: Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya (Image Credits: Getty Images)

Someone like Washington Sundar or Deepak Hooda might also be included as the second all-rounder. Hooda’s List A statistics are considerably better than Sundar’s. Should Pandya be unavailable, Hooda could be his replacement. While Sundar’s bowling record is good, based on his domestic statistics, there is no indication that he will consistently score runs in white-ball cricket. He certainly shouldn’t be batting at 6 for India.

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India’s recent struggles in ODIs have been primarily because of its bowling. The Indian bowlers have been averaging 38.58 runs per wicket, at an economy rate of 6.01 since 2020. India’s bowling has been poor in all departments, in all phases of the game.

No. 8: Deepak Chahar/Shardul Thakur

India’s only options at number 8 are Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. Axar Patel is an option but he is too similar to Jadeja. In their short careers, both Thakur and Chahar have proven useful with the bat. However, Thakur has been quite poor with the ball.\

Shardul Thakur and Paras Mhambrey. Photo- BCCI
Shardul Thakur and Paras Mhambrey. Photo- BCCI

Given India’s bowling woes in the powerplay and Thakur’s poor record, it would make sense to play Chahar as a new-ball bowler. However, if Bhuvneshwar plays, he would bowl in the powerplay, and Thakur could be played as a middle-overs wicket-taker.

No. 9: Yuzvendra Chahal

With Jadeja in the team, India needs to pair him with an attacking spinner. While Yuzvendra Chahal is not the bowler he was a few years ago, he is still India’s best-attacking spin option. He has been India’s highest wicket-taker over the last two years. Sundar is another possible candidate but it would be preferable not to have another defensive spinner.

No.10: Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav. (Photo: Twitter)

Though dropping Jasprit Bumrah is not an option, he has struggled in ODIs over the last few years. His poor form has been the main reason for India’s powerplay problems; he has averaged 213 in the powerplay over the last two years. He’s still been unhittable at the death, going at 6.4 runs an over, but India needs him to take more wickets upfront.

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No. 11: Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami/Prasidh Krishna/Mohammed Siraj

India needs a solid death bowler, other than Bumrah. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the ideal option. However, his place in the team is far from cemented. He’s 32, injury-prone, and didn’t do well in the recent South Africa series. If he doesn’t regain his form, India may have to look past him. His potential replacements are Mohammed Shami, Prasidh Krishna, and Mohammed Siraj.

Shami is the next best option, though he too has struggled over the last two years. A brilliant start to his career makes Prasidh the second-choice replacement. A major issue, however, is that he is not reliable at his death. Siraj is developing into a good white-ball bowler and could replace Shami or Prasidh.

Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj. Pic Credits: Twitter.

India’s batting looks solid at the moment. The only concern is Pandya’s fitness and his potential replacements. Bowling remains India’s biggest weakness. Some changes will be needed if it is going to succeed at the 2023 World Cup.