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The chosen twenty: Predicting who is on India’s 2023 World Cup shortlist

India World Cup 2023 squad
by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

A 20-man shortlist for the 2023 ODI World Cup has been reportedly finalised for India: here’s a look at those who could be part of the selected squad.

It’s the start World Cup year – usually, that means that we’re barely a few months away from the start of the tournament. It’s different this time: a rejigged calendar has forced a World Cup in October-November. Ten months away from the start of the event, India have reportedly shortlisted a group of 20 players, with Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, saying that the selected set will be rotated in the lead up to the World Cup. He also added that those beyond the group could also earn a World Cup call based on exceptional domestic performances.

Assuming that the number is exact, and that everyone recovers to be fit, we select a list of probables who could be part of the shortlist.

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Openers

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Shikhar Dhawan

It’s probably not as easy as it looks. Rohit – captain and first-choice opener – could be at his final World Cup, but less than a year away, his opening partner is not really a certainty. Among the frontrunners is Gill, who averages in the high fifties and opened ten times for India last year and Kishan, who rollicked his way to the fastest double ton of all time just last month. There’s Dhawan too: he opened more times for India than anyone else in 2022, and is often a fallback captaincy option for low-profile tours. However, his form and confidence seems to have tailed off a bit.

Middle order

Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson

Probably the easiest of the lot. Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer are easy picks (Iyer topped the run charts for India in 2022). One would sincerely hope Rishabh Pant recovers in time for the tournament. Among the rest, KL Rahul is likely to slot in as well: he’s oscillated around enough, but at five and six, his average (41.80 and 49.81 respectively) and strike rate (84.27, 108.30) are pretty impressive. The last slot could go to Sanju Samson, but it remains to be seen how many ODIs he plays in the lead up to the competition (in 2022, he played 10, averaging 71.00). It also gives India four wicketkeeping options.

All-rounders

Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar

We’re assuming everyone’s fit, so Ravindra Jadeja returns. Hardik Pandya, being groomed to be India’s next leader, is still their first-choice fast-bowling all-round option. Spin will obviously play a big role on Indian pitches, allowing the expected inclusion of both Axar Patel and Washington Sundar, who have been the preferred finger spinners in Jadeja’s absence.

Fast bowlers

Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India’s fast-bowling riches have been put to test of late, with a spate of injuries resulting in plenty of chopping and changing. Bumrah, who last played an ODI in July, was recently added to the squad for the first series of the year, and will be India’s spearhead if fit. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami lend experience and can play vital roles on Indian pitches. Shami, though, has played just three ODIs in the last two years, but is part of the upcoming Sri Lanka series. Siraj, India’s highest-wicket taker in 2022, fits in ahead of Prasidh Krishna who has missed out on considerable amounts of cricket in the second half of last year.

Spinners

Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav

Completing the set of spinners will be the once inseparable duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have gone through their fair shares of ups and downs in the past few years. Since the start of 2020, Kuldeep – in and out of the team – has played 12 out of his 17 ODIs in Asia. Chahal – who was famously benched for the entire 2022 T20 World Cup – was India’s leading wicket-taker among spinners last year, and can be expected to play a central figure with R Ashwin seemingly out of contention.

Others who could make the cut: Deepak Chahar, Deepak Hooda, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Prasidh Krishna

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