Veteran India cricketer Dinesh Karthik spoke about some of the issues the Indian team management and BCCI selection committee need to focus on while naming the Men in Blue squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 to be played at home from October 5 onwards.
The BCCI selection committee has to name the provisional squad for the World Cup by September 5 and unlimited changes can be made till September 27 when the final squad has to be submitted for the World Cup.
However, India will have the Asia Cup 2023 tournament and the three ODIs against Australia at home to find out their final 15 for the World Cup. Asia Cup begins on August 30 and will be played in Pakistan and Sri Lanka with India being grouped with Pakistan and Nepal.
Veteran Dinesh Karthik thinks that Team India must use the Asia Cup tournament to have some issues sorted out, the biggest being who will bat at the crucial no.4 position in the XI.
The India top-order looks set in stone - with skipper Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli likely to occupy the top three spots in the batting order - but Karthik is concerned by the make-up of the middle-order and who will be the fourth seamer in the squad.
"There are two areas (India must identify at the Asia Cup). No.1. Who is the fourth medium pacer? We have Jasprit (Bumrah), we have (Mohammad) Shami and we have (Mohammad) Siraj. We are sure about all of these three, but who is going to be the fourth?
Is it going to be Shardul Thakur? Is it going to be Prasidh Krishna? Mukesh Kumar? Or are you going to go for the pace of Umran Malik?" Karthik told ICC.
Karthik posed more questions when contemplating the likely personnel that will slot into the middle order.
"Do we need a left-hander? Do we look at Tilak Varma or is Suryakumar (Yadav) that option as he plays all the sweeps that are available in the game, makes it hard for spinners, and is a very good player of spin as well?
So, who is the backup batter? That is the next question. These are the two areas for me and I think these are the two big things India must be answering during this Asia Cup,” Karthik added.
India's Asia Cup campaign commences against arch-rival Pakistan in Kandy on September 2, with their second group match coming two days later against Nepal at the same venue.