Kishan v Rahul: Who will win the race?
As such, teams have a provision to change their squad without ICC’s clearance until September 28, by when the ODIs against Australia would’ve ended.
Kohli is no longer India’s captain, but Rahul continues to enjoy that support even from the current team management. Since January 2020, in 17 innings at No. 5, Rahul averages 56.53 and strikes at 99.45 with seven half-centuries and a hundred. However, the road back to No. 5 may not be straightforward.
“It’s a good headache to have,” Agarkar said on Tuesday after announcing India’s World Cup squad. “Ishan played a lovely innings [against Pakistan]. He generally opens but you’d rather have that headache [over who the first-choice wicketkeeper will be] to deal with than not have it. When he comes [KL Rahul] there will be a conversation, but at least you have two options. The captain-coach will sit down and decide what’s best for the team on a given day. We’re happy to have two options who will fight for a place in the team than the other way round.”
Suryakumar pips Tilak
With Shreyas Iyer set to get enough game time at No. 4, India could’ve opted for one of Kishan or Rahul to also double up as the reserve batter too. This would’ve freed up a slot to pick a genuine offspinner, which Agarkar acknowledged can make a difference, or maybe even an extra seamer, like Prasidh Krishna.
Can Axar and Jadeja feature in the same XI?
At this World Cup, there’s little doubt that Jadeja is an automatic shoo-in as the spin-bowling allrounder, potentially at No. 7. But because India want batting depth beyond No. 7 – a point Rohit seemed to stress on – there’s a realistic possibility of India having Jadeja atNo.7 and one of Axar or Shardul Thakur at No.8 based on conditions, in addition to Kuldeep Yadav as the frontline wristspinner.
“It’s both, we’ve looked at bowling and batting depth,” Rohit explained when asked of balancing their XI. “We need to create [batting] depth. That’s what we found was lacking in the team for the last few years. We wanted to make sure we get the batting depth somehow. When you talk of depth, No. 8 and No. 9 becomes crucial.
“We saw in the first game here at the Asia Cup also, where we were a little short [India finished with 266 despite looking good for more] with the bat in the back end. It tells you how important your 8-9-10-11 are, their job is not just to come and bowl but also contribute with the bat. We ended getting 265 ; another 10-15 runs had we played the entire 50 overs [India were bowled out in 48.5] could’ve been the difference between a winning and losing margin.
“We’ve spoken to the boys how important their role is going to be, how they need to put their hands up to do a job with the bat as well. We understand the importance of getting the combinations right. Sometimes when you’re trying to fix something you will miss out on something that’s not broken as well. We just have to try and use resources available as best as I can.”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo