The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 ended a few days ago with the host team reaching the pinnacle in one of the most intensely contested finals in the Cricket World Cup’s history. The Indian fans were left disappointed after the semi-finals where the Indian cricket team could not make the cut and were knocked out of the tournament by a clinical New Zealand side.
Be that as it may, cricket is still viewed as a religion in India and fans have already started looking forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 which is to be hosted in India itself. Though the performance of most of the players had been really good or at least decent throughout the tourney, there are still some changes which can be made to boost up this squad. With age already on the wrong side for some of the players, they may have to be replaced by the young blood.
Here are 5 changes which may be brought in the Indian Team for 2023 World Cup
1. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Rishabh Pant has already gained some experience of playing in a World Cup after he was called up to replace Shikhar Dhawan who sustained an injury in the second match of the World Cup against Australia. Rishabh Pant may be included in the team as a first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman after a string of impressive performances.
The doubt over Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career looms large after the statements given by Chief Selector MSK Prasad. Pant has already performed reasonably well in Test Cricket and looks fit to dominate in the white-ball cricket as well.
Pant has the ability to play aggressive cricket from the scratch and put the pressure back on the opposition, something which had been missing in the Indian middle order as evidenced from their matches against Afghanistan and West Indies. If he works a little bit on his temperament, Pant may be the best bet for a wicketkeeper-batsman for the Indian team.
2. Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The 19-year-old lad from Punjab has been constantly knocking on doors of the Indian cricket team for a while now. And if his past performances are any indication, he may get an entry pass for an international ride soon. Shubman Gill may be an answer to most of the problems faced by the Indian team.
A versatile batsman who can bat well in the top order and middle-order alike, he may be the No. 4 batsman India had been looking for throughout the World Cup 2019. He has turned out with some extremely good performances for the India A team in the recently concluded ODI series against the West Indies and even bagged the Player of the Series Award.
As far as the performances in IPL are concerned, he has shown his immense talent and was one of the bright spots for the Kolkata Knight Riders in their campaign this season. He can serve as a back-up opener as well. With age on his side and runs flowing constantly through his bat, the selectors won’t be able to keep him out of their scheme of things for long.
3. Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Krunal Pandya brother has been persistently trying to join his younger sibling in the playing XI. Krunal Pandya can be a perfect substitute for Kedar Jadhav. He can play the role of a finisher and his skills as an off-spinner are beyond any doubt. He has been continually proving himself with some power-packed performances and has eventually surged ahead of most of his Spin-bowling all-rounder counterparts.
Including him in the playing XI gives the team the luxury of a sixth bowler, a role which Kedar Jadhav was not able to fulfil in the World Cup. With his age already in the mid-30s, Jadhav could hang up his boots any time now. Also, given his lack of fitness and comparatively slow fielding, it is time Krunal should be groomed as a finisher cum bowling all-rounder.
4. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ruturaj Gaikwad is by far one of the most interesting future prospects for team India. He has taken the world by storm with his powerful performances against the West Indies A and Sri Lanka A in the two recently concluded ODI series. His knock of 187* of just 136 deliveries against the likes of Lahiru Kumara, Akila Dananjaya and Asitha Fernando lead India A to a formidable total of 317 in just 42 overs.
He has shown great temperament and composure and looks fit to set the International Stage on fire with some big knocks. The Indian top-order is already brimming with immensely talented batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. However, it won’t be surprising if he gives them a run for their money in the coming few years. He may be included as a back-up opener in place of KL Rahul.
5. Khaleel Ahmed
Khaleel Ahmed. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
The retirement of Zaheer Khan left a void in the Indian Cricket team, a void they haven’t been able to fill completely for the last 4 years. The presence of a quality left-arm pacer can be extremely boosting. Up until a few years ago, this role could have been played by Ashish Nehra, but he also announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2017. The given situation creates a great opportunity for Khaleel Ahmed as he is probably the best-left arm pacer in the country presently.
He has also been constantly attracting the attention of the selectors with some extremely good performances. He was exceptional in IPL 2019 despite the limited opportunities he got. He has also ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded ODI series against West Indies A with a healthy bowling average of 17.33 and a miserly economy of 4.73.
Having a left-arm pacer can be extremely useful for the team as he can create awkward angles for a right-handed batsman. Also, there is the threat of the incoming delivery which does not allow a batsman to play freely. Khaleel Ahmed can thus definitely make full use of his bowling style to break into the playing XI.
~Written by Sanjam Singh Arora
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