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Predicted: India’s 2023 Cricket World Cup probables, based on the Asian Games squad

India World Cup squad
by Naman Agarwal 4 minute read

The 2023 Men’s World Cup is less than three months away. Based on the hints hidden in the India squad for the Asian Games, here is a look at what could be the probable squad for India, including standby players and backups, for the 2023 World Cup.

The much-awaited 2023 World Cup starts on October 5 in Ahmedabad. India, hosting the event for the first time since 2011, have a lot of expectations riding on them, given how the last three ODI World Cups have been won by the home team.

Less than three months remain for the World Cup, and India would be looking to zero in on a set of players. While the core of their first-choice XI in ODIs is relatively stable with only a couple of spots up for debate based on conditions and balance, a spate of injuries to a major part of that core group of players has meant that things are going to be extremely tricky as far as selections are concerned.



Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill are locked in as the first-choice opening pair in ODIs. While Rohit is among the best ODI openers in the world for a decade now, Gill has graduated from an also-ran to an ODI beast. He has been in impeccable form in the format this year.

Gill’s ascension has coincided with the downfall of Shikhar Dhawan, who boasts of a phenomenal ODI record himself. From 22 ODIs last year, Dhawan managed an average of 34.4 and a strike rate of 74. He has not featured in ODIs this year, and India seem to have moved on to Ishan Kishan as the third opener, especially after his double century in an ODI against Bangladesh last year.

Kishan also keeps wicket, and has also made his Test debut. He should pip Dhawan to be in the first 15 for the World Cup in all likelihood. However, Dhawan’s omission from the Asian Games squad and his impressive record in ICC events may hint at the selectors intending to keep him around the World Cup squad in some capacity – if not as the backup opener in the 15, then perhaps as a standby.

Middle order

In an ideal scenario, India’s middle order would have comprised Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, and Rishabh Pant. However, barring Kohli, the others are injured, and there is no guarantee of them being fit in time for for the World Cup. Iyer and Rahul are expected to be fit and back in action, but Pant will almost certainly miss the World Cup.

This is the trickiest part of the puzzle for the Indian selectors to solve. They need to identify backups for Iyer, Rahul, and Pant and keep them ready in case any of these three don’t make it in time.

Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson are the next two middle-order batters in line. India have tried to invest in ‘SKY’ in ODIs, but with underwhelming returns – an average of 24.05 from 23 ODIs. Samson, meanwhile, has earned a recall to the ODI side for the West Indies tour, and provides the added advantage of being a wicketkeeper.

All rounders

India are pretty much sorted in this department. Seamers Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel should suffice.

They do, however, need to identify backups in case any of these four become unavailable. No other seam-bowling all-rounder has been around the ODI setup in the recent past which means India will have to go back to Vijay Shankar as a potential backup.

Among spinners, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed have been picked in the Asian Games squad, and will not be available for the World Cup. That means India will have to rely on R Ashwin as the backup spin-bowling all-rounder, although his batting credentials in ODIs aren’t very reliable.

Fast bowlers

Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj have spearheaded the Indian ODI bowling attack in the last year or so. They should be joined by Jasprit Bumrah, who is expected to be fit before the event. However, Bumrah’s injury-prone nature will always keep the selectors and management on their toes.

As backups, they have a wide variety of options to choose from based on fast bowlers who have played ODI cricket for India in the last year or so – Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Sen, and Deepak Chahar.

However, among them, Avesh has been picked for the Asian Games, while Prasidh is currently injured. Malik and Chahar seem to be the frontrunners for the backup seamer’s spot.

There is also a remote possibility of India falling back on Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a standby seamer. He last played an ODI for India in January 2022.


Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav pick themselves as the frontline spinners for the World Cup. Kuldeep has been in better form than Chahal of late and should start over him in the XI.

They will also have Jadeja and Axar for company, with Ashwin as a potential standby spinner.

Predicted India squad for 2023 World Cup:

Main squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ishan Kishan (wk), Axar Patel

Standby: Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, R Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Umran Malik

Backups: Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijay Shankar

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