India’s build-up to another home World Cup has sketched primarily along predictable lines, save for R. Ashwin’s last-minute inclusion. Its winning form has been the best since the start of 2023, and an Asia Cup triumph certainly will be a shot in the arm.
Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill form a top-order that oozes finesse. It is those big moments that they need to shoulder collectively. They are supported by able right-handers in KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer. The lack of a left-hand bat raises a question of variety; it will be interesting if Ishan Kishan remains a backup opener.
Weaknesses of the likely starting line-up against left-arm bowlers — pace and spin — could pose some hard questions. Intent and counter-attacking ability are other vexing issues on the table.
India can, however, be content with three fearless first-choice bowlers in the arsenal. A fit-again Jasprit Bumrah looked deadly in his fleeting spells in Sri Lanka. Mohammed Siraj, with his seam and swing upfront and a rejuvenated Kuldeep Yadav will be a force to be reckoned with. Hardik, too, is reeling in more overs with the white Kookaburra.
However, the indifferent form of left-arm spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel’s absence will be a reminder of a roster short on X-factors.
Kohli in ODIs in 2023
Nothing short of an implosion can keep India away from a semifinal berth. However, the quest to clinch that elusive ICC trophy remains as bumpy as it has been over the last decade. The team’s core matches the best in terms of skill any day and only the quantum of verve during knockouts could become the difference between world domination and an earlier ride home.
India in ODIs in 2023
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