India’s dream of lifting the World Cup came crashing down when they lost to New Zealand in the first semi-final. They played some excellent cricket throughout the tournament. In fact, they finished at the top of the points table with 15 points from nine games (seven wins, one loss and one no result).
However, New Zealand dashed their hopes in the semi-finals. The next World Cup is four years later and it will be hosted in India. With the 2019 World Cup coming to an end for India, there are a few players who may not be around for the showpiece event in 2023. Hence, it’s important for the ‘Men in Blue’ to look ahead. There are a lot of young and promising cricketers who have been doing well in the Indian domestic circuit.
Here we bring you five Indian youngsters who might play 2023 World Cup:
1. Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill is one name that is resonating around Indian cricketing circles quite a bit these days. The talented Punjab-born batsman has been piling up the runs in domestic cricket.
Right from a very young age, Shubman Gill had the hunger for big runs. He scored heavily in age-group cricket in Punjab and translated that success at the Under-19 level as well. He was one of the most consistent run-getters for India at the junior level. Moreover, Gill played a big role in India’s Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2018.
Since then, he’s done really well for Punjab in domestic cricket and has constantly been in the India ‘A’ squad as well. In fact, he played a couple of ODIs as well where he batted at No. 3 in the absence of Virat Kohli. He didn’t really have a great start to his international career but he has the ability and the talent to excel. Thus, Gill may well be a vital part of the Indian batting line-up in the years to come.
2. Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer has been in and around the Indian team for a while now. He was expected to be India’s answer to their middle-order woes. However, the Mumbaikar never batted at that position. When he made his ODI debut, he batted at No. 3 while he was pushed down to No. 5 when skipper Virat Kohli returned to the line-up.
Hence, he got only a few opportunities in the limited-overs set-up before getting axed. Iyer has played just six ODIs and as many T20Is, scoring 293 runs in total in international cricket so far. However, he has been scoring consistently for Mumbai in domestic cricket and also for India ‘A’. In fact, he’s been captaining the ‘A’ side for a while now. Thus, he could well be the solution to India’s No. 4 woes.
3. Navdeep Saini
Fast bowling has become a massive trend in Indian cricket. There was a time when we had to search for pace bowlers in India but there’s a cupboard full of them now. Navdeep Saini is one among them. In fact, he’s one of the fastest bowlers going around in India at the moment.
The Delhi-born made his first-class debut in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. He’s consistently picked up wickets in domestic cricket for Delhi on both white and red-ball cricket. Saini was also a part of the Indian Test team for the one-off Test match against Afghanistan. He also travelled with the Indian team during the 2019 World Cup as a net and a reserve bowler.
Hence, he can add quite a bit of depth to India’s pace attack. He can hit the deck hard and trouble the batsmen. Saini could well make his India debut in the near future and can become a regular and go on to feature in the 2023 World Cup.
4. Shreyas Gopal
Shreyas Gopal is a very underrated cricketer who has been consistently doing well in domestic cricket. He’s been churning out impactful performances for Karnataka in all three formats. The leg-spinner has also done well in the IPL in the last couple of seasons.
Playing for Rajasthan Royals, he has become their lead spinner. In fact, he has dismissed the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers on multiple occasions. He has quite a few variations and he uses them really well. Moreover, the 25-year-old is a very handy batsman and he bats at 6 and 7 for Karnataka. He can adapt to different situations really well. Also, he’s been doing well for India ‘A’. Thus, he could well add to India’s spin and all-round department.
5. Khaleel Ahmed
Ever since Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra hung up their boots, India have never really had a left-arm fast bowler. Barinder Sran was one but he lasted a mere eight international games, all of which came in 2016. Thus, when Khaleel Ahmed’s stocks rose, understandably, there was quite a bit of excitement.
The Rajasthan pacer played the 2016 Under-19 World Cup and made his first-class and List ‘A’ debut a year later. His excellent performances saw him getting fast-tracked into the senior side. Khaleel made his ODI debut in the Asia Cup last year and was impressive to kickstart his international career.
In fact, he may have well been India’s third fast bowler in the 2019 World Cup. However, Mohammed Shami’s rise again in white-ball cricket saw Khaleel fall off the radar. However, he still seems to be in the scheme of things. He is a part of the India ‘A’ squad and will want to work his way back into the national side. Thus, being one of the very few left-arm pacers, he could well bring in some change and variety in the Indian attack.
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