No shocks in India’s World Cup lineup

World Cup lineup
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When India revealed their World Cup lineup and the Asian Cricket Council said the Asia Cup will proceed according to plan, the status quo was firmly defended in Sri Lanka. The Super Four stage would be held in Colombo rather than Hambantota due to logistical difficulties at short notice, with at least one team expressing resistance to travelling.

There were no surprises in the selection of the Indian team. The fifteen players—with the exceptions of Prasidh Krishna, Tilak Varma, and backup wicketkeeper Sanju Samson—were chosen from the group competing in the Asia Cup.

Both skipper Rohit Sharma and chief selector Ajit Agarkar emphasised the value of balance in their selections during the press conference where the team was unveiled. The team deliberately sought out flexible players, and in addition to Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya was named vice-captain.

All first-choice players were healthy and available, thus the batting lineup was simple.

One interesting choice was that Kuldeep Yadav was the only slow bowler India had who could turn the ball away from left-handed hitters.

Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin were the two off-spinners that were taken into consideration. Due to his slower fielding skills and lack dynamism in limited-overs batting, Ashwin, while being extremely good and experienced, was not considered a favourite.

The case of Washington Sundar was more interesting. He was predominantly utilised as a bowler in the Indian Premier League and international cricket despite having experience as a top-order batsman at the domestic level. Washington performed a good job in this role, but there weren’t enough chances for him to lock up his spot before the World Cup.

If the squad had allowed for 16 players as opposed to 15, India might have thought about one of these two off-spinners, since they would have loved to include one in their lineup.

Tilak Varma was a valuable player who also might have been helpful. Varma was a left-handed batsman who excelled at every opportunity given to him. His game was versatile and he had a cool head under pressure.

There was one more query, but it was too early to answer it. KL Rahul might return to the mix, but it might not be a good idea to integrate him right away. Rahul’s performance was evaluated by India having the benefit of a few Asia Cup games, but this would be unjust to Ishan Kishan, who made a good case for himself with an 81-ball 82 under extreme duress.

Rahul, though, is highly regarded by the Indian team’s think tank because of his background and accomplishments, which might give him the advantage over Kishan’s current scorching form.

Overall, it’s difficult to find something wrong with the chosen squad. There might be a few small arguments regarding particular decisions, but these would only alter the team’s individuals, not its makeup as a whole. The fifteen players give Rohit the flexibility to create a playing eleven according on the circumstances and the opposition, a critical component in a competition like the World Cup where the team’s adaptability is put to the test against nine different opponents across as many venues.

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