India's squad for World Cup 2023: Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul in, Kishan picked over Sanju Samson; no Chahal, Ashwin

Sep 05, 2023 01:40 PM IST

India World Cup squad 2023: KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav made the cut while Sanju Samson, Prasidh Krishna and Yuzvendra Chahal were ignored.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) on Tuesday announced India's 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2023 slated to begin on October 5. The squad, which was announced by BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar and captain Rohit Sharma at Earl’s Regency in Kandy, was bereft of any surprises as KL Rahul was included after being declared fit by the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Rahul is expected to join the rest of the Indian players in Sri Lanka for the Super 4 stage of Asia Cup 2023. Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav reclaimed their places while Sanju Samson, who was a reserve in India's Asia Cup squad, has been left out.

India's squad for World Cup 2023 has been announced(AFP)
India's squad for World Cup 2023 has been announced(AFP)

This marks the second time in two years that Samson has come perilously close to securing a World Cup berth but fallen short. Last year, he was in the same space, as despite a three-way fight for the wicketkeeper slot, India preferred Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik over him for the T20 World Cup. And roughly 10 months later, nothing has changed, with Samson falling behind in the pecking order to an emerging youngster in Ishan and a fit-again Rahul.

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The remaining slots in the squad were relatively straightforward to fill. Rohit will lead the team, and it will feature the star power of Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Shubman Gill. Among fast bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj have all secured their places while medium pacer Shardul Thakur was preferred because of his ability to strengthen the lower order.

Unfortunately, Prasidh Krishna, who recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff and earned a spot in India's Asia Cup squad, did not make the cut, and neither did the promising young talent Tilak Varma. India's middle order will be anchored by Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, with SKY as a backup option. Kuldeep Yadav has been included as the sole specialist spinner in the squad, indicating that the management may have somewhat lost faith in Yuzvendra Chahal after all. There was no space for off-spinner R Ashwin too, which means India will have only three spn-bowling options in Kuldeep, Jadeja and Axar Patel.

Rahul fit enough to perform the dual role

Perhaps the only doubt leading into the World Cup squad was Rahul's fitness. Rahul, who has been out of action since the IPL due to a thigh injury picked up another niggle that forced him to miss India's first two matches of the Asia Cup against Pakistan and Nepal. Rahul has been smashing it at the nets at the NCA. The only concern surrounding Rahul will be his lack of match practice, but the three ODIs against Australia promise to hold him in good stead ahead of India's World Cup opener against the Aussies in Chennai on October 8.

"Reflecting on my journey in the last few months, which has been filled with challenges and lessons. The road has been humbling. A big shoutout to Nitin sir, Yogesh sir, Rajini sir, Dhananjay Bhai, Shalini and everyone at the NCA for your efforts and commitment towards getting me back on the ground. Special mention to the team at Wellington Hospital in London and Dr. Rahul Patel for a smooth op. Lastly to the BCCI for the constant support and belief," Rahul wrote on Instagram in the morning.

Ishan Kishan the second choice?

What Rahul's return effectively means is that India are not deterring from their original first-choice keeper despite Ishan Kishan's flawless innings (82 off 81) against Pakistan, batting out of position at No.5 after India had lost four wickets for 66. The left-hander has scored four half-centuries in his last four innings but the team management has decided to go with Rahul, who was anyway the first choice at No.5.

India World Cup 2023 squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav.

India start their campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai.

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