As the clock ticks down to the 2023 ODI World Cup, former Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar has revealed his dream India squad for the prestigious event. Unveiling his list on Star Sports, Bangar made a few unexpected selections, sparking debate among cricket analysts and fans. What caught everyone’s attention was his inclusion of left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, leaving out all-rounder Shardul Thakur. Also notably absent was Prasidh Krishna, another seam-bowling option. The World Cup, scheduled to unfold in India from October 5 to November 19, is a topic of national conversation, and these choices add another layer of intrigue.
Firstly, let’s look at the structure Bangar envisions. He recommends five specialist batters, two wicketkeeper-batters, two spin-bowling all-rounders, one pace-bowling all-rounder, one specialist spinner, and four fast bowlers. A balanced squad, but what truly stands out are the personnel.
In the batting department, he opts for stalwarts like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, while also giving nods to emerging talents like Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav. His wicketkeeper-batter choices are Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul, both of whom offer versatility in batting. For the all-rounders, Bangar goes for the left-arm spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. His lone pace-bowling all-rounder pick is Hardik Pandya. As for the specialist spinner, he chooses Kuldeep Yadav over more experienced names. Finally, the fast bowlers include the proven trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj, along with the surprising inclusion of Arshdeep Singh.
Arshdeep’s pick is particularly noteworthy. He’s leapfrogged Shardul Thakur, a more experienced campaigner who can contribute with both bat and ball. But Bangar perhaps sees something special in Arshdeep, who has been increasingly consistent in domestic leagues. Thakur’s omission isn’t just an isolated case; it’s indicative of Bangar’s willingness to gamble on fresh talent over seasoned performers.
Sanjay Bangar’s Bold Choices for India’s 2023 World Cup Squad Raise Eyebrows
Similarly, the exclusion of Prasidh Krishna shows Bangar’s predilection for a specific type of bowler, which could hint at the conditions expected during the World Cup. Given that the tournament is in India, a land known for its spin-friendly wickets, the accent on spin-bowling all-rounders like Axar and Jadeja makes sense. Also, the inclusion of Kuldeep Yadav as a specialist spinner is aligned with this thinking.
Bangar’s list is consistent with the notion that India will go into the World Cup prioritizing adaptability and specialized skills for subcontinental conditions. This is particularly significant since the World Cup squad is expected to mirror the one chosen for the Asia Cup, according to BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar.
Bangar said: “My specialist batters would be Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, while wicket-keeper batters are Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul. For spin-bowling all-rounders, I would prefer both left-armers – Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja. One pace bowling all-rounder would be Hardik Pandya, while the specialist spinner would be Kuldeep Yadav. The four fast bowlers would be Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Arshdeep Singh.”
Sanjay Bangar’s 15-member squad for World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
In my opinion, Bangar’s picks signal a bold approach to team selection, favouring form and specialized skill sets over reputation. While the omission of Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna is debatable, the selection of fresh talents like Arshdeep Singh brings an exciting unpredictability to the squad. Arshdeep’s inclusion could provide the X-factor that often proves crucial in high-stakes tournaments.
However, there’s always the risk that Bangar’s focus on fresh faces could backfire if they fail to adapt to the pressure of a World Cup environment. It also remains to be seen whether the selectors will heed Bangar’s advice or stick to more tried-and-true options. Nevertheless, Bangar’s proposed lineup offers a fresh perspective that can’t be ignored, especially in a cricket-mad nation awaiting its third World Cup title. With the Asia Cup acting as a precursor to the big event, it won’t be long before we find out how closely the official squad aligns with Bangar’s daring vision.