2 warm-ups, 3 dilemmas Dravid-Rohit must address ahead of WC opener

With two warm-up matches to go for World Cup opener against Australia, Team India will need to decide between Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav as only one batter can come in.

India Cricket Team has exactly two matches to figure out what will be the final Playing XI against Australia on October 8 in their ICC World Cup 2023 opener. While the team looks set especially with KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer returning to form after injury setbacks, head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma have a few dilemmas. IND vs ENG warm-up and IND vs NED warm-ups should provide them with the answer before the IND vs AUS Chepauk showdown.

On Sep 30, India take on England in Guwahati before travelling to Thiruvananthapuram for the final warm-up fixture against the Netherlands on Oct 3 before World Cup.

  • Is there a place for Ishan Kishan?
  • Steady Shreyas Iyer or explosive SKY?
  • 3 spinners or 4 seamers?

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Is there a place for Ishan Kishan?

To his credit, Ishan Kishan has done everything right. He has improved his wicketkeeping skills and has been averaging nearly 50 in the last 12 months. He has played explosive knocks while he has also proven that he can play the anchor role well as he scored a fantastic 82-run knock against Pakistan in Asia Cup. Ishan has also played at No 5 and has opened the innings.

Ishan Kishan has been in great form but Shreyas Iyer is ahead in the pecking order

But when it comes to priority, Shreyas Iyer looks to be the first-choice option. And he has already helped his case with a century against Australia and followed it up with a 48-run knock.

However, Ishan Kishan is an important asset because he is the only left-hand batter in the Top 6. To counter left-arm seamers and spinners, he could be handy in the entire World Cup campaign.

Both Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer will get a chance against England. They will be up against Sam Curran, David Willey, and Reece Topley. And a lot will depend on how they fare against them.

Steady Shreyas Iyer or explosive SKY?

Shreyas Iyer is also facing a competition against Suryakumar Yadav. While Iyer is the steady hand in anchoring innings, SKY provides the explosiveness. That India could amass 399 runs against Australia in the 2nd ODI was largely due to SKY’s explosive 37-ball 72-run knock.

If Shreyas plays, India won’t pick up an extra batter. Instead, Hardik Pandya will play at No 6 as the finisher with KL Rahul slotted in at No 5. In that situation, Suryakumar Yadav will have no place in the Playing XI in their World Cup opener.

3 spinners or 4 seamers?

India have their three best seamers back together. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj are two sure-shot starters while Mohammad Shami adds extra flair. But should India go with three frontline seamers?

If India do pick three seamers, they will have a 4th seamer in Hardik Pandya. Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will be the two spinners. But in Chennai, which is expected to assist spinners, India will have the third option.

For now, there is no guarantee that Axar Patel will be fit in time. And if India bring in Ravichandran Ashwin, he is likely to start ahead of Mohd Shami, making it a three-spinner line-up in IND vs AUS on Oct 8. It is unlikely that Axar Patel will be available for the first warm-up against England even if he gets fitness clearance. In that situation, Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma must decide who they want to go with Axar or Shami in their World Cup opener.

ICC World Cup 2023: 2 warm-ups, 3 dilemmas Rahul Dravid & Rohit Sharma must address ahead of IND vs AUS World Cup opener on Oct 8.
Axar Patel is yet to get a fitness certificate from NCA and against Australia in Chennai, India will need a third spinner

India Squad for Cricket World Cup 2023

Batters: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav

WKs: Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul (VC)

Seam all-rounders: Shardul Thakur

Spin all-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin

Seamers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna

Spinner: Kuldeep Yadav

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