Who should come into the squad, whose India career is as good as over and who is going to be in the selector’s plans going forward. All these answers would be put to rest on this Sunday as the Selection Committee selects the personnel for the upcoming West Indies tour.
After an acrimonious exit at the hands of the Black Caps in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup, we are still trying to come to terms with this harsh reality. India is at the crossroads, whether to stick with the tried and tested or pick a team keeping the 2023 home World Cup in mind.
We should take a leaf out of England’s book in planning for the next World Cup, right from the word go. A plan should be put in action which would allow the next gen players to have played at least 50 matches before the World Cup. This would allow the youngsters to possess plenty of experience in dealing with all kinds of pressure situation which a big multi-national event such as World Cup presents.
MS Dhoni was of the same view. A well-stipulated plan was put into place just after he took over the ODI captaincy, phasing out players such as Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid from the ODI set-up paved way for upcoming stars such as Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina. We all know how that panned out in the 2011 World Cup.
India’s next assignment is an away tour of the West Indies. We take a look at five changes which India should make keeping in mind the 2023 World Cup:
This Mumbai lad is a perfect mix of class and swagger and a personal favourite of the author. He could be the answer to our ever going search for the number four spot. Iyer is one of the best players of spin bowling in the country and equally apt in dealing with the pace and bounce. He was not given ample opportunities to cement his place in the team. The 25 year-old has played six ODIs and has an average of 42.00 with 2 fifty plus scores.
A left hander always adds variety to the bowling attack. Khaleel was just ousted by Mohammad Shami for the third pacer role in the World Cup squad. He would be back in the reckoning as Jasprit Bumrah is set to get rested, at least for the white ball leg of the tour. He has shown that he is a wicket taker in the recent IPL and would be a great investment.
Shubman Gill came into the limelight with his bradmanesque average in U-19 cricket. He has a maturity beyond his years and can play anywhere in the batting order. Selectors gave him his ODI debut in New Zealand. He is a star in the making and need to be persisted with. He can come in place of Virat Kohli or may open as KL Rahul feels shackled as an opener.
Any bowler who clocks 150 Km/hr odd constantly is ought to grab attention. Saini is no different. He hits hard lengths and gives the batters plenty to think. He is 26 years of age and is at the peak of his powers. Saini has been knocking on the selector’s doors for long and needs to be unleashed.
For my fifth change, I would go with an outsider pick named Shreyas Gopal. We know for a fact that Yuzvendra Chahal is performing admirably well but hear me out. Gopal has a knack of cleaning up well established batsman as witnessed by his performances in the last couple of IPL seasons as well as domestic circuit. He is an amazing fielder and a more than capable batsman which tilts the pendulum in his favour. India possess a long tail whenever Kuldeep and Chahal play together and Gopal can remedy that.