The Indian cricket team will play their opening match of Asia Cup 2023 against Pakistan on Saturday but the speculations regarding the team composition are still dominating headlines. With KL Rahul out of contention for the first two games and Shreyas Iyer coming back from injury, the debate over how the batting line-up will look like has reared its head once again. While both head coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma has downplayed the discussions, the fact that these questions exist just one day ahead of the match is surely a worry for a side that will enter ICC World Cup 2023 as a top contender.
With the Cricket World Cup just round the corner, the India vs Pakistan game and the Asia Cup 2023 as a whole gains a whole new level of importance. The World Cup will be hosted in India and this is a perfect chance for all the teams to test their strengths against formidable opponents. While India will play Australia in an ODI series after this tournament, it lacks the competition of a continental tournament.
Ahead of the tournament, India decided to go with Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul as potential contenders for the No. 4 and No. 5 slots. On paper, the line-up is probably one of the strongest one can come across but a closer inspection reveals major concerns for the team.
While both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer massively lack match practice, Suryakumar Yadav’s ODI performance have been less than satisfactory. The explosive batter did have a good Indian Premier League season but his T20 form has rarely translated into a solid show in the 50-over format.
With Ishan, the problem is less about form and more about his batting position. The left-hander has been a mainstay at the top of the batting order for Mumbai Indians and against West Indies, he was the top scorer for his side while opening the batting. It seems clear that he will be the wicket-keeping option for the side but that can also mean his batting position can become No. 5 – a position he is not quite familiar with. While it is difficult to say how he will adapt to such change, the numbers are not quite impressive and if he did open the batting, that can mean a complete overhaul of the system.
Moving to the bowling department, things are somewhat settled in the pace attack with Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. However, the spin attack remains a source of constant conversation. The Indian selectors opted for three left-arm spinners in Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja and if any of them falter, the door can open up suddenly for Yuzvendra Chahal.
Beyond team personnel, the tournament will also be a test for the Indian cricket team. While the side has dominated teams in the past, their record in continental and ICC tournaments have been less than satisfactory. Even in Asia Cup, they were last champions back in 2018 with the last edition finishing with them failing to reach the final after losses against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
A win for India against the World No. 1 Pakistan and teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will not guarantee a good show in the Cricket World Cup, but the confidence and stability achieved from a victory like that can go a long way in making him a true favourite.
Topics mentioned in this article
- India vs Pakistan: What Asia Cup 2023 Can Mean For Rohit Sharma And Co’s Cricket World Cup Preparation | Cricket News
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