The Indian team is keen to fine-tune its bench strength ahead of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 which begins on October 5. The Men in Blue will play their opening match of the competition against Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on October 8.
Preparations for the same began a fortnight ago with a three-match bilateral series against the team from Down Under, which begins on October 22 in Mohali. Interestingly, senior professionals like Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli and Kuldeep Yadav were left out of the 15-man squad for the first two ODIs against Australia.
Youngsters like Tilak Varma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Prasidh Krishna among others find their names in the list with KL Rahul leading the team. India will return to a full squad for the final ODI in Rajkot on September 27.
Skipper Rohit explained the reason behind this, saying that a group of players must have game time under their belt and be ready to get into the rhythm in case they receive a call-up at any time during the World Cup .
“Our goal is to give everyone a chance. If we only play 11 players a year, then you won’t be able to create bench strength. You can see that other teams are facing injury problems because that means also a lot of traveling and we have to play 11 matches and travel across the country,” Rohit said.
He added: “So we will have a lot of travel and a lot of matches. We want to make sure that some of the guys who are out have enough confidence from playing a few matches and are not suddenly thrown in. Ultimately, the players “You have to be ready and anyone can be called at any time. You have to stay strong and athletes have to be ready. If you get called up, you have to perform as we have seen for years, the chances come. Bench strength is important and we always try to find a chance to give people a chance.”
Indian team vs Australia:
Squad for the first two ODIs:
KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah , Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya, (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel*, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj
(Edited by : Tarkesh Jha)