When M S Dhoni sniffed that India will play the 2011 world cup under his captaincy, he started to prepare a lot earlier. The no nonsensical approach towards the future led to India excelling in the 2011 world cup. On the other hand, Team India of 2022 looks more prepared to lose the 2023 version of the multi national tournament (Cricket World Cup).
Analysing India’s Prospects in 2023 Cricket World Cup
If you observe India’s team for the 2022 T20 World cup (currently underway in Australia), you can make a fair bit of prediction about India’s chances at 2023 ODI world cup. The batting is being led by Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul at the top. Both players have been plagued by injuries as well as inconsistency. For Rohit, captaincy has not turned out to be a boon.
The workload is impacting his body as well as mind. When Rohit plays, fear of injury is always there. Being a captain, rest is not an option easily accessible to him. All these problems are casting a shadow of doubt on his 2023 Cricket World Cup prospects. The man will be 36 by then and if he continues playing till March, a rest in IPL 2023 is the only viable option to save him for the world cup.
If Rohit is not the first choice, then the onus will be on K L Rahul to carry the responsibility of captaincy. The slew of injuries leading to inconsistent performances in the last few years does not inspire much confidence in him as well. Rahul has an arduous task in the form of carrying his IPL form to national jersey.
Middle order is a big headache
Even when the top order is sorted, the middle order is possibly one of the most inexperienced ever. It is true that Virat Kohli is there to guide them through, but bowlers no longer fear him as they used to do in the pre-covid era. Kohli did make a comeback in the match against Afghanistan and went on to do well in the Australia series as well. However, his ability to convert 50s into 100s, the best bow in his armoury, has not found its groove. One of the reasons for it is that he has mostly played T20 cricket after coming back to form. It will be interesting to watch his development over the next 365 days. He is currently 1 of the 2 pillars of India’s middle order. Any issue with Kohli’s form would derail India’s world cup journey.
The second pillar is Suryakumar Yadav, Mr 360 degree of India. He is the only player in the team who is fulfilling fans’ as well as experts’ expectations. The man is uptight, has excellent body language and more importantly, the work ethic of an international batsman. In case Kohli fails, Suryakumar will be taking the charge. In fact, calls for getting him a permanent slot at number 3 have already started making rounds. Currently, it makes much more sense to promote him. Yadav’s all-round show at number 3 will only help Kohli to get more in his groove, as was recently witnessed in India-Australia T20 series.
Apart from these 2, India’s middle order does not look stable. Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shubnam Gill, Ravindra Jadega are key players in the contest for 3 slots. While Pandya and Jadeja may make the cut for their bowling as well, both are renowned more for big hitting than playing a stabiliser. Other players have also not been able to establish themselves, despite hovering around with Team in various tournaments. Pant and Samson are particularly more concerning. Their fitness levels have changed for the worse. In any case, a player with less than 100 ODI belts under him are only second-best options for selectors. Unfortunately, except Kohli, no one will have that level of experience in the Cricket World Cup 2023, all thanks to India’s horses for courses policy.
Also Read: Ravindra Jadeja is worth 5 Hardik Pandyas any day
Bowling relies more on luck and chance than anything
The Situation with bowlers is also not different. Apart from Ashwin and Bumrah, no player is sure about his selection. In the pace bowling department, players like Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Mohammaed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel are main contenders. Except Shami, every one of them is inexperienced, while Shami is himself facing injury troubles for quite some time now.
Apparently, Shami’s injury can be called a trickledown effect. Bumrah, the head of the pace bowling department keeps getting injured in packets. He is facing the brunt of taking too much on his head and is even out of the T20 world cup due to it. He is India’s mainstay in all 3 formats, which is too much for anyone in the era of T20 leagues. Experts have advised team management to rotate him, but they just refuse to listen. Given the fact that he himself will be reluctant to leave the IPL, unlike Mitchell Starc did, playing every match for India was a fatal blow to his body. If the lead bowler is injured, imagine the morale of the second line of defence.
In case of dilapidated pace attack, the next option is empowering the spin department. Even there, inexperience as well as inconsistency of experienced players are killing our prospects. While Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi have performed well in packets, they still have to prove them as reliable in crunch moments. That is because, India has paid a lot for inconsistencies of players like Kuldeep Yadav and Yajuvendra Chahal. Both went from being a regular in the squad to just one of the probables. Yadav is not even part of the T20 world cup squad. Any one of the aforementioned players will have to rise up to the occasion to match shoulders to shoulders to Ashwin and Jadeja.
There are still 365 days to go. World can turn around. Tendulkar did not play not a single one day after his double century at Gwalior in 2010. He directly went to the world cup with a fresh approach and lifted the trophy. It shows that all it requires is a rejig in priorities of the current crop of players.
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