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How India Should Build Their ODI Team For The 2023 World Cup?

The tour of South Africa should be an eye-opener for Team India as a whitewash in the ODI series indicates that there is plenty of work to be done before the 2023 World Cup. Being a home World Cup for India, expectations would be sky high and the team would be hoping to break the duck of not winning an ICC trophy since 2013.

It is a new era for Indian cricket as Rohit Sharma would lead the side but before that building blocks need to be set in place in preparation for the mega tournament. Here are the key factors to be considered in the build-up to the 2023 World Cup.

 

FIND BATTERS WHO ARE WILLING TO ADAPT

We’ve seen over some years now that this Indian team is playing an outdated brand of cricket in the limited-overs. The batters especially have to adapt if they are to be strong favourites for the 2023 World Cup. The conservative approach to the powerplays and in the middle overs need to be thought through and the batters need to be given a bit more freedom at the top of the order.

In the past few years, the 50 overs team has been heavily dependent on the top order for the bulk of run-scoring hence the top three usually play a more circumspect role because of the lack of trust in the middle order. This needs to be looked at as teams around the world are playing a far more aggressive brand of cricket with the bat.

 

GIVE AN EXTENDED RUN TO THE MIDDLE ORDER

This brings us to the next point, the middle order needs to be looked at and be backed to express themselves in any situation possible. Rahul Dravid in his post-series press conference mentioned that they were looking to give an extended run to the middle order in the series but some of the players failed to deliver.

The lack of a solid middle order was India’s Achilles heel in the 2019 World Cup. It seems like Rishabh Pant is a sure shot number four this time around but the question to be answered now would be the role of KL Rahul. He was batting at number four previously in the format but went back to open the innings in the series against South Africa due to Rohit Sharma’s unavailability.

Finding the right personnel for the middle order is key for the management. There is an abundance of talented players who could do the job but they need to be backed and given an extended run in the build-up to the 2023 World Cup.

 

FIND ATTACKING SPINNERS

Most of India’s success in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup was down to the two attacking wrist spinners they had in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. With Yadav horrendously out of form, Chahal remains as the only wrist spinning option.

This department has been underlooked for quite some time now and we’ve reached a stage where opposition counterparts are out bowling the Indian spinners. The team has gone back to R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in limited-overs but the duo isn’t the wicket-taking options the team needs.

Finding another spinner who is a genuine wicket-taking option along with Chahal should be high on the priority list for Rahul Dravid, considering the World Cup would be played in India and spinners would have a key role to perform.

 

NAIL DOWN ON POWERPLAY BOWLERS

Powerplay bowling has been a concern for the side post the 2019 World Cup. The best bowlers have usually been rested from the ODI format previously hence we haven’t seen India’s strongest XI on the field yet. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have the best numbers in ODIs since 2019 but finding the right third seamer is key.

The competition seems to be between Bhuvenshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna and Mohammed Siraj. The latter has played just a single ODI since 2019 so it is difficult to judge his capabilities in the format. Kumar hasn’t been the same bowler since the string of injuries he endured previously. Chahar is solid with the new ball but offers very little in the back end of the innings. Thakur and Krishna can be super expensive on a day and are a big gamble in a knockout competition.

This remains a key issue to be addressed before the tournament as for some time now the format has been sidelined.

 

GET THE SIXTH BOWLING OPTION RIGHT

Getting a proper six bowler in the XI has been an issue that has been nagging the team ever since Hardik Pandya’s back injury. It seems like if Pandya can’t bowl then he simply can’t be in the XI. The team tried Venkatesh Iyer in the South African tour but international cricket seems to be a step too far for Iyer currently. Jadeja provides the team with balance hence he becomes India’s key all-rounder for now. Players like Chahar and Thakur can contribute with the bat so are valuable additions to the XI. But there remains a big hole in the XI without Pandya. Either they need to get him back fit or find someone like Iyer who can do a job as the sixth bowling option.

Read: Smriti Mandhana to Shaheen Afridi: Winners from ICC Awards 2021

   

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