The 2019 World Cup is just a couple of months away. And India have five ODIs to decide their World Cup squad which can give them the third World Cup title. However, India have a few selection headaches to resolve ahead of the tournament. In fact, it’s a good headache to have as India have problems of plenty. It’s more about whom to leave rather than whom to choose.
Cricwizz takes a look at five selection headaches for India to form the 2019 World Cup squad.
India have too many keepers
India are currently testing three keepers. MS Dhoni is the first-choice keeper, while Dinesh Karthik will be the reserve keeper for the 2019 World Cup. But Karthik would play as a specialist batsman and don the role of a finisher in the XI if Dhoni is keeping the stumps.
India are also looking at Rishabh Pant as a specialist batsman. And his score of 40* in the second T20I at Wellington has done his chances no harm for World Cup selection. India would look to accommodate Pant as an attacking lower-order batsman to add depth to the batting line-up.
But taking in three keepers for the World Cup defies logic. Also, Pant is still a work in progress in limited-overs cricket and India would do well with two experienced keepers in Dhoni, Karthik. But Pant may get the nod if India wish to add a specialist batsman to their squad.
Hardik Pandya is a certainty for the World Cup. But India are also looking to test Vijay Shankar for the role as England conditions will be conducive for medium-pace bowling. Hence, Shankar is getting enough opportunities in the limited-overs tour of New Zealand.
He has even been promoted up the order to showcase his batting skills and give India more options. But Shankar too needs more exposure to become a genuine quality all-rounder.
Hardik Pandya seems certain to go as the one-off medium-pace all-rounder in the World Cup squad.
Ambati Rayudu has cemented his place in the ODI squad with a match-winning knock of 90 in the fifth ODI against New Zealand. But coach Ravi Shastri said Virat Kohli might be asked to bat at No 4 to add depth to the middle-order, which still looks vulnerable.
So, will Rayudu bat at No 3 followed by Kohli and MS Dhoni? Who should India pick at No 5 – Dinesh Karthik or Kedar Jadhav or both can be included in the XI? Should India look for an extra reserve batsman in Pant or an all-rounder? That’s a tough choice to make.
Here, Ajinkya Rahane with a better technique can get the nod for the World Cup as he can be dependable in the fickle English conditions. But Rahane has not played ODIs for long and has been relegated to Test cricket. He’s unlikely to be included. Pant might get a nod ahead of Rahane if India go for an extra batsman in the World Cup squad.
India will include their wrist spinners – YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – to their World Cup squad. But would not two wrist spinners give a predictable spin look to the squad? Where will India go if both the wrist spinners are taken to task? Do they have a back-up? A left-arm spinner all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja or Krunal Pandya can be the answer to India’s spin combination for the World Cup squad.
Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah are the confirmed medium-pacers for World Cup squad. But should India look to add a reserve bowler if a medium-pacer goes out of form or gets injured? Should a left-arm bowler in Khaleel Ahmed who did well in the second T20I against New Zealand be added in the World Cup?
Khaleel can add variety to the squad. But would not an extra medium-pacer be a luxury when there is an all-rounder in Hardik Pandya already in the squad?
Indian selectors need to think hard and fast to get their best World Cup squad.