Euro 2020 Special

ICC ODI World Cup 2023: A Look At The Roadmap Ahead For Team India

Another global tournament, another early exit. India’s failure to lift global trophies despite boasting one of the strongest teams in international cricket is continuing to haunt both the players and the fans. Since the 2011 ICC ODI World Cup that India clinched under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ten global tournaments have now slipped past Team India’s grasp.

The latest exit from the semifinals of the 2022 T20 World Cup should then serve as a big signal for Rohit Sharma’s men to mend their ways quickly, as less than a year remains for yet another World Cup tournament.

Let’s take a look at Team India’s Roadmap for the ICC ODI World Cup 2023:



Team India will have a busy schedule ahead of the ODI World Cup, with eight series scheduled before October 2023, when the tournament is likely to commence. The Indian T20 League and Asia Cup are also scheduled to be played before the World Cup next year, as is the World Test Championship Final if India manage to qualify for the game.

India will kick off their campaign with a tour of New Zealand starting on Thursday. As all the senior players have been rested, Hardik Pandya will lead the young T20 side while Shikhar Dhawan will lead the ODI squad. The Men in Blue will then travel to Bangladesh for two Tests and three ODIs before returning home. India will then host Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia at home before the start of the Indian T20 League.

As it stands, Team India are scheduled to play a minimum of 25 ODIs before the start of the World Cup – giving the players plenty of opportunities to gain experience in the 50-over format, and for the team management to give youngsters plenty of opportunities to find their form. 


Captaincy and Senior Players

One major issue that has received prominence once again after the T20 World Cup debacle is the participation of senior players in the team’s bilateral encounters. By all means, the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are saturated with games throughout the year and deserve adequate rest. But India’s teams in bilaterals against some countries in recent years were completely different from the main squad, raising questions about the haphazard inclusion and exclusion of youngsters in the team.

An issue also bothering the team management is the captaincy of the Indian team. Unlike England and Australia, India continues to prefer a single captain across all formats. At the same time, the team is resting Rohit Sharma for tours, similar to its approach with Virat Kohli. This is creating a vacuum in leadership, with a continuous rotation of captaincy among players removing the aura and authority that comes with the position. This rotation is also costing Rohit Sharma the experience he needs to lead the team when it is under pressure.

 If India wants Rohit Sharma to lead the team into the 2023 ODI World Cup, it must allow and prod Rohit Sharma to captain the team in the ODI bilaterals as well.


Home Advantage

The 2023 ODI World Cup tournament will be the first time India will be hosting the global tournament all by itself, giving the Men in Blue a unique home advantage. India’s tracks, unlike the ones in Australia, England or South Africa, are very friendly to spin – a department in which India has historically excelled. India will be playing more than 20 of their 25-odd ODIs at home and will be keen to capitalise on the opportunities.

But home advantage is also a diminishing factor in international cricket these days, as shown by Australia’s failure to qualify for the semifinals of the T20 World Cup. The proliferation of domestic T20 leagues and the experience of players across countries is slowly making the home advantage factor redundant. This will especially be the case in India, as the Indian T20 League has ensured that players from almost every country except Pakistan are now familiar with Indian tracks. 


Where Should Team India Improve?

The issues facing India are numerous, and many issues that were considered to be settled have resurfaced in recent weeks. Barring Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the team hardly has any other core players in the batting department. While Rohit Sharma’s slow starts could be attributed to the expectation of him anchoring the team as the captain, KL Rahul’s performance as an opener has been underwhelming. Team India finished with a powerplay run-rate of 6.00 – ranking 15th of the 16 teams that played in the tournament.

While the presence of Surya Kumar Yadav in the middle order has enabled India to put on decent scores, the rest of the middle order continues to be unreliable. It is imperative for Team India to make a decision regarding its main wicketkeeper, as alternating between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant is affecting the form of both players. Barring Hardik Pandya, India’s white-ball side also lacks all-rounders who can give explosive finishes to the game.

It is in the bowling department that India need to make a major overhaul. Perhaps the most important factor in India’s loss in the semifinal against England was the absence of Jasprit Bumrah. But a team’s fortunes should not rely on a single bowler alone. Mohammed Shami continues to impress with the ball, but Bhuvaneshwar Sharma and Arshdeep Singh have both put up mixed results in the tournament. India also boast a quality spin line-up that is eager for opportunities, but neither Yuzhvendra Chahal nor Kuldeep Yadav can perform well with the bat like Ravichandran Ashwin, costing them a spot in the team.

While the talent pool is deep, it is the approach to the game that should perhaps change. The introduction of T20s has changed the nature of ODIs as well, and India’s disastrous tour of South Africa where they were whitewashed in the ODI series by the Proteas should serve as a wake-up call to India.




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