Team India's chosen 15 for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 were all on expected lines, with team management and selectors not going for any surprises. The squad, led by Rohit Sharma, includes KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav but Yuzvendra Chahal and Rishab Pant did not make the cut. The core of the team was already apparent even though selectors wished to see more of youngsters like Prasidh Krishna but rain played spoilsport instead.
The squad is essentially seven batters, four bowlers and four all-rounders. Rahul returns from a long layoff due to injury while Surya Kumar Yadav was always a difficult selection due to his inability to convert his T-20 match-winning knocks in the longer format. A big setback is Pant returning from injury and is yet to play competitive cricket and return to reclaim his spot in the national side. Chahal is unlucky despite selectors and team management going for him but the faith shown by Rohit and his team management in Yadav off late appears to have tilted the scale in his favour. including his ability to bat some.
Rahul was always a debatable selection due to his propensity to get injured frequently. However Agarkar backed his inclusion, saying, “KL Rahul has been a prolific run scorer at No.5. He has played a couple of games over the last two days and kept wicket for whole 50 overs.”
Regarding the absence of off-spinners in the squad, Agarkar said, “Our focus is on selecting the 15 individuals who can successfully complete the task at hand... We ideally wanted an off-spinner but this gives balance. We are quite happy with the bowlers we have,” added Agarkar.
With the World Cup being played in India, skipper Rohit goes in with the knowledge that his team members are well-versed with home conditions and have therefore picked a squad that covers all challenges posed by those conditions.
The format of nine league games per team means there is enough space for any team to regroup and come back in the tournament, which makes it difficult for any team. “The 50-over format is different. The format of playing nine league games (we played it in 2019) is unique. There’s always chance to make a comeback. We saw how England did it and won the World Cup last time. It does give you extra time to think about combinations, teams’ strategies and plans. It gives you breathing space.”