What should the Indian cricket team do to win the 2023 World Cup?

Mudassir Ali
Mar 11, 2020 12:12 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 11, 2020 12:12 PM

IMHO this is what BCCI needs to do:

1. Focus on winning 2023 WC (and also 2020 T20 WC ) – the next 4 years should serve as buildup to next WC – doesn’t matter if we lose a bunch of bilateral series’ in the process.

2. With the focus being on 2023 WC, we need to phase out seniors who wont be around till 2023. Now there are 3 kinds of candidates :

a) Players who are almost obvious picks at present but are likely to be too old to make into the squad in 2023 (Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni):

Are they vital to 2020 T20 campaign ? If yes, communicate to them in advance that they should expect to be phased out after T20 WC 2020. They can choose to retire gracefully after T20 world cup ( or even before that) or else expect to be dropped unless they are exemplary performers

b) Players who are border line picks/barely misses the cut now but are likely to be too old to make into the squad in 2023 (Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin):

If they aren’t good enough to play for India now, they wont ever become good enough. Communicate to them that India team is moving past them. They can choose to retire after the next series (in which case they will be picked for next series), else their India career is over unless something drastic happens

c) Players who are almost obvious picks at present but injury/fitness concerns might force them to call it quits before 2023 (Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami)

Thats a tricky decision. Bhuvaneshwar and Shami would be around 34 in 2023 which is almost at the end of a fast bowler’s shelf life. Both of them have a history of fitness issues as well. I think their workload need to be managed for next 2 years and then BCCI needs to take a call. If they are injury ridden/ have fitness concerns move past them else continue to manage their workloads.

3. Groom backups for every position. As of today the best candidates for 2023 look like this :

openers : Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Ruturaj Gaekwad
middle order : Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair
wicketkeepers : Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan
batting all rounders : Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Deepak Hodda, Nitish Rana
bowling all rounders : Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Avesh Khan
spinners : Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Mayank Markande, Shahbaz Nadeem
seamers : Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Prasidh Krishna
Give 10 games (at least 5 continuous games) to each of the fringe players in this list. Ensure that we have at least one backup for each slot. By mid 2022, identify a pool of 20-22 players. For next year, donot experiment with new players but try out players from this pool.

4. Get a real coach – somebody who actually has coaching experience under the belt, has played cricket at the highest level (and hence can understand the pressure associated with it) and can provide critical insights. Rahul Dravid fits all the 3 criteria but he isn’t interested. So the next best potential options are Ray Jennings, Stephen Flemming, Tom Moody, Andy Flower, Ricky Ponting, Shaun Pollock.

5. Take a call on captaincy. And do it early. Are selectors considering Rohit Sharma as an option ? or is Kohli going to continue ?

Rohit Sharma – positives :

Kohli is animated where Rohit Sharma maintains a calm demeanor.
Kohli is quick to drop a player if he doesnt perform, Rohit tends to give players a long rope
Rohit Sharma – negatives :

Isn’t a test regular. Multiple captaincy hasn’t worked for India ever (except scenarios where regular captain has stopped playing one format)
Potentially creates a bimodal power distribution in the team. Captain or not, Kohli is most likely going to continue to be the number 1 batsman for India across all formats. Also what happens if under Rohit’s captaincy India fails to win a few series while Kohli continues to be captain of the #1 ranked test team ? Are we going to go back to Kohli then ? In the process, all we achieve is ruin the team harmony.
Kohli has remained the only Indian captain whose personal form has been unaffected by burden of captaincy. Rohit has done well as captain in IPL but captaincy seems to have an impact on his batting form
World cup is 4 years away – in 2023, Rohit will 36 (while Kohli will be 34). In 2023, Rohit Sharma wont have the same level of hand eye coordination that he has today. Kohli is technically more sound, fitter and 2 years younger. There’s a posibility that Rohit’s position in the playing XI may not be as undisputed as it is today. Kohli’s game is less dependent on hand-eye coordination and reflex, so he will most likely continue to be valuable to the team.
Whichever way BCCI decides to go, that decision has to be taken now and BCCI needs to stick to that decision

6. Groom bowlers who can bat a bit. And by ‘bat a bit’ I dont mean somebody like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who can possibly score a 25 ball 15. We need somebody like Rashid Khan or Pat Cummins or Wahab Riaz who can score a 15 ball 20 at the end of an innings. ODIs are increasingly becoming like extended T20s. 350 run chase will probably become a regular affair by 2023. To chase huge totals, you need your number 8 to be able to score 15-20 runs at 7-8 runs per over. Give preference to bowlers who can bat a bit even if it means leaving out a better bowler. The best candidates for this job right now are Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. Ensure that they spend time honing their batting as well.

7. Its too risky to form a playing XI with exact 5 bowling options. We need to have two all rounders in playing XI apart from 4 specialist bowlers – may be one batting all rounder and a bowling all rounder. The next world cup is an India and a part timer tweaker who can give you 5-6 overs is worth his weight in gold. Groom players accordingly.

8. Occasionally promote lower middle order batsmen up the batting order so that on a day like the semifinal against NZ, lower middle order isn’t completely in unfamiliar territory. For example, in a bilateral series against Sri Lanka where we are chasing 220 and first wicket falls at 80/1, send Jadeja to bat instead of Kohli. That’s the only way Jadeja or Pandya will get match practice where they can play an innings builder role but team isn’t in crisis.

9. Before discarding a player give him a long rope – at least 5 continuous games and preferably at least 10 games before discarding someone for good. That way we wont have a situation like 2019 WC where we rejected Rayudu/Shankar/DK/Pant only to pick them again at a later point of time

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