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Cricket World Cup 2023: Team India shortlists 17-18 players for the mega event

After India’s third ODI against Australia in Chennai, head coach Rahul Dravid shared that the team has shortlisted 17-18 players for the ICC Cricket World Cup taking place later this year in India. This match against Australia was India’s final 50-over game before they tour the West Indies in August, and they may play three more games in India before the World Cup start.

During a press conference, Dravid expressed confidence in the squad, stating that they have nearly finalized their selection. A few injured players could return to the squad, depending on their recovery.

Dravid also stressed the importance of offering playing opportunities to the selected players, whether in India or abroad. The team is willing to experiment with different combinations and adopt a flexible approach during the prestigious cricket event.

“I think, to a large extent, we are pretty clear about the squad and players we want,” Dravid said at a press conference as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

“We have almost sort of narrowed it down to 17-18 players. We have a few guys who are sort of recovering from injuries and might come into the mix, depending on the timeframe of their recoveries and how long it takes for them to come back.”

“But all in all, we are pretty much in a good space, we are pretty clear about the kind of team we want to play. Hopefully, we are able to give these guys who we have zeroed in as many playing opportunities as we can. If in India, great, but even if not in India, it is just [a matter of ensuring that] they get as many opportunities as you can [give them] to build a side,” Dravid said.

He suggested that team is willing to try out different combinations and adopt a “horses for courses” approach during the marquee cricketing event. The surface in Chennai is likely to assist spinners. But India’s spin combination is a guessing game as Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar are in the mix and have performed well whenever given a chance.

“Within our 15 or 16 players, there are a couple of different combinations that we would like to try and see which one is working,” Dravid said.

“It [World Cup] is a big tournament, it is a long tournament in India, and we are playing in nine different cities and nine different conditions. So you just want to have that flexibility in your squad as well, to be able to play sometimes four fast bowlers, sometimes three spinners. Just you want to have that flexibility. Within the squad we would like to sort of look at different options, just to ensure that we have covered all our bases for all conditions.”

“To a large extent, I think we have got a lot more clarity at the end of these nine games, irrespective of whatever happens tomorrow. I think we will just keep building on that clarity. We are quite clear about the kind of squad we want. For us now, it is really just about the different playing XI combinations and just ensuring that we play different combinations at times just to ensure that we are able to do that in the World Cup and we are not surprised by anything in the World Cup,” the coach said.

With the World Cup being held across nine different Indian cities, Dravid wants the squad to have the capacity to adapt to varying conditions. This adaptability could involve using four fast bowlers or three spinners as required. The ultimate objective is to ensure the squad is prepared for any situation that may arise during the tournament.

Dravid believes that the recent matches have provided clarity on the squad, regardless of the outcomes. The focus has now shifted to refining the playing XI combinations to avoid surprises during the World Cup. He is not worried about Suryakumar Yadav’s ODI form, attributing his struggles to adapting to the 50-over format and facing outstanding bowling. With more experience and patience, Dravid is confident that Suryakumar will find success in ODIs, as he has in T20Is.

“Not really concerned so much about Suryakumar,” Dravid said.

“He got two first-ballers against two pretty good balls. One of the things about Surya is he is also learning the 50-over game a little bit. The T20 game is slightly different.”

Also See: Cricket World Cup 2023 Schedule, Fixtures, Time Table, Points Table, ODI Match Dates, Venues, Live Score, and Teams (Live Updates)

“Even though he had not played for India for a long time, in T20 cricket, he played nearly ten years of IPL, and a lot of IPL cricket, which is a tournament which is like international cricket. He has played a lot of high-pressure T20 games but in one-day cricket, there is no equivalent tournament in domestic cricket, you will have to play Vijay Hazare [Trophy] and all that. Even though he has played a lot of T20 cricket, I think he has not played a lot of one-day cricket. We just need to give him some time and be patient with him. We certainly see the upside of him doing well, which is very good for the side,” Dravid said.

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