There was heartbreak for Indian fans on Wednesday as the Men in Blue bowed out of the 2019 World Cup after a disappointing loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals. Batting has been India’s strength in limited-overs cricket over the past couple of decades and for a change, bowlers fared a lot better than batsmen in this World Cup.
Despite the defeat, India played some good cricket in the tournament and rather than pointing fingers, it is always better to look into the future and plan for what comes next. India’s ODI squad at the moment need some reinforcements and fresh blood. There is no shortage of talent in the country, thanks to a good domestic set up.
2023 World Cup is scheduled to be hosted by India in February and March. This is the right time for Indian selectors to start building the squad for the mega event in 2023. Opportunities should be given to young and talented cricketers who have been performing well in the past few years.
On that note, let’s take a look at the five Indian players who can be nurtured for the next World Cup.
#5 Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill’s career took off when he played a crucial role in India’s U-19 World Cup triumph in 2018. He scored 372 runs from six games at an average of 124 and was also the Player of the Series. He then played well for KKR in the Indian Premier League 2018. The 2018/19 season was even better for the youngster.
Gill managed 418 runs from seven games at an average of 60 in Vijay Hazare Trophy, which included three fifties and a hundred. He then had a good season with KKR in IPL 2019. Promoted to open the batting halfway through the campaign, Gill notched up three fifties and scored 296 runs in the tournament.
The 19-year-old also amassed 728 runs in five Ranji Trophy games at an average of 104. He also had some good outings with India A. He has been scoring runs consistently over the past couple of years. Gill shows a great deal maturity for a player who is yet to turn 20 and will only get better with experience. He handles pressure well and has all the shot in his arsenal.
#4 Shreyas Gopal
The 25-year-old has been one of the consistent performers in domestic cricket for quite some time. The Bengaluru lad has played 32 List A games and picked up 51 wickets for Karnataka. Shreyas Gopal is also known for his ability to bat well down the order and score crucial runs.
He has picked up 13 wickets in 8 games during the 2018/19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He then starred for Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 Indian Premier League. Gopal picked up 20 wickets in 14 games and finished as the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
A genuine leg-spinner and a wicket-taker, Gopal possesses a deadly googly. He has outfoxed the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers on quite a few occasions in T20 cricket. Despite being a leg-spinner, he is good against left-handers. He can hit the ball a long distance and also a brilliant fielder.
#3 Shreyas Iyer
Having made his ODI and T20I debut for India in 2017, Shreyas Iyer failed to nail down a spot in the Indian limited-overs setup. However, it might change in the near future. Iyer has improved a lot as a batsman over the past couple of years and scored a truckload of runs for Mumbai, India A, and Delhi Capitals.
He was sensational for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018/19. The 24-year-old finished with 373 runs in six innings at a stunning average of 93.25, which included two hundreds and two fifties. He led Capitals in IPL 2019 and scored 463 runs in 16 matches at an average of 31.
A technically skilled cricketer, Iyer possesses a good temperament and great attitude. He is good against the spinners and rotates the strike well in the middle overs. He also has the power to clear boundaries and the skill to play long innings. He could be the solution to India’s No. 4 problem in ODIs.
#2 Deepak Chahar
When the young and upcoming fast bowlers focused a lot on pace, Deepak Chahar has made a name for himself with his disciplined line and length bowling. The 26-year-old has impressed everyone with his ability to swing the new ball and also bowl yorkers at the death.
His skill was clearly evident in the Indian Premier League 2019 where he finished as the third highest wicket-taker. Chahar took a total of 22 wickets at an economy rate of 7.47 runs an over. He led the Chennai Super Kings pace attack and was consistent throughout the campaign.
He was also the top wicket-taker in the 2017/18 Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament with 19 scalps in nine games. He also starred for India A against England Lions in the 50-over format. The fast bowler made his ODI and T20I debut for India in 2018 but played just one game each in both the formats. He could have more opportunities when India tour West Indies later this year.
#1 Prithvi Shaw
The 19-year-old came to prominence in 2018 when he led India to victory in the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Prithvi Shaw scored 261 runs in six matches at an average of 65.25. He was brilliant against the new ball in tough conditions and was the star of the show for India.
He then played in IPL 2018 and scored 245 runs for Delhi in nine matches at an average of 27.22 and a brilliant strike rate of over 150. He then became a regular figure in India A team and scored runs against West Indies A and South Africa A. String of consistent performances earned him a call to the Indian Test squad.
He made his Test debut against West Indies at Rajkot in 2018 and scored a stunning hundred in his debut innings. Injury hampered his promising start and he missed out in the Test series against Australia. He then featured in IPL 2019 and scored 353 runs for Delhi Capitals. Though short in stature, Shaw packs a punch and his back foot drive through point and covers are a delight to watch.