'Four pacers in starting XI' - Ravi Shastri opens up on India's team composition for ODI World Cup
The former coach named Mohammed Siraj as the backup alongside first-choice spearheads Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
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Former India head coach Ravi Shastri and former chief of selectors Sandeep Patil have cast a spotlight on the critical elements that can shape the composition of the Indian cricket team with the Asia Cup 2023 and ODI World Cup 2023.
The seasoned voices weighed in on the selection strategy, emphasizing the significance of all-rounders and the composition of pacers within the squad. Shastri reckoned that India must include two all-rounders in addition to regulars Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, naming Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur as his choices.
“I think to be fair, I will go with both the all-rounders - Axar and Shardul, it gives me an opportunity. And keep Sanju Samson on standby in case something happens to the keeper there, where he can just fly out,” said Shastri while speaking to Star Sports on the ‘Selection Day’ show.
Shastri further highlighted India’s pace-bowling needs, stating that all-rounders Pandya and Thakur should chip in in tandem with the frontline quicks. The former coach named Mohammed Siraj as the backup alongside first-choice spearheads Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
"So, now you start with the pacers because, for me, the pacers are important. If you need four over there, you already have one all-rounder (Pandya). So, if Bumrah is fit, he walks in. Shami walks in – that's two. You've got Siraj as a backup, and if needed, Shardul can be there. Shardul has done well in the West Indies one-day game; he can be a backup. And then you have room for one more," he said.
Notably, Bumrah is set to return to international action straight after September last year, having been out due to a recurring back issue and rehabilitation following a surgery to tackle the said issue. Shastri stated that Bumrah's fitness will be best judged once he hits the ground, as bowling in the nets is not an ideal indicator to assess the match fitness of a player. Returning to the national fold, Bumrah will have an added responsibilty as he has been named India's captain for the three-match Ireland T20I series, commencing on August 18 in Dublin.
“You will only know if he [Bumrah] is fully fit when you see him playing in matches. That's when you get a fair idea. No amount of bowling in the nets is going to tell you how fit a player is. There's one thing called net fitness, and there's one thing called match fitness. So these three games become very important for Jasprit,” reckoned Shastri.
Former chief of selectors Sandeep Patil was in agreement with Shastri regrding the team selection for the ODI World Cup. "I will go with what Ravi said because I want to remember 1983. The combination we had, we had many all-rounders in the team, and having all-rounders in the team gives you so much variety, and you can choose anybody," Patil said.
The 2023 ODI World Cup will commence at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on October 5, with New Zealand taking on England in a repeat of the iconic 2019 World Cup finale at Lord’s.