The countdown for the ICC World Cup 2023 has begun and the mega event will begin in India on October 5 with the final to be played on November 19. This is the first time the ICC extravaganza is happening with India as a sole host.
The World Cup 2023 will be played in India from October 5 to November 19 with the Indian team playing their first match on October 8 against Australia in Chennai. New Zealand and England will play the opening encounter at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which will also host the India v Pakistan match on October 15 and the final encounter as well.
The Indian team is being seen as a favorite to win the event and many cricket experts have begun sharing what they think should be the ideal Men in Blue squad to take on the best of the world.
One of those experts Wasim Jaffer shared his thoughts on JioCinema, and in a surprise choice, picked out of favor batter Shikhar Dhawan as his third opener in the squad. To be noted, Dhawan has not played for India since December 2022.
He said: "My three openers will be Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Shikhar Dhawan. Even though Shikhar Dhawan is not going to be picked, I will keep him as the backup opener. Even if he doesn't play at the start, I am okay with that.
After that, Virat Kohli was at No. 3. Shreyas Iyer at No. 4, KL Rahul at No. 5, and Hardik Pandya at No. 6. Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav will be my three spinners in the XI."
In another surprise, Jaffer left out Ishan Kishan while naming KL Rahul and Sanju Samson as wicketkeeping options in the World Cup squad.
As for the pace department, there were no surprises as Jaffer went for Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammad Shami.
"In my XI, I will have Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj/Mohammad Shami. I will play two seamers - Bumrah and Siraj. For me, it is very important that Hardik Pandya bowls because the World Cup is in India. Even if he doesn't bowl 10 overs and bowls seven-eight overs, it's enough for me,”
In the spin bowling department, Jaffer picked three spinners but all of them were left-arm options with Kuldeep Yadav potentially making a comeback in his selected squad.
"If he bowls, I will try to play three spinners and I will play both Akshar and Jadeja because they are all-rounders. My third spinner will be Kuldeep. My fourth seamer will be Shardul Thakur. Sanju Samson will be my backup keeper because I have already picked Shikhar as my third opener," Jaffer added.
India will play its first game of the World Cup on October 8 against Australia.
Wasim Jaffer’s India World Cup 2023 squad:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammad Shami, Sanju Samson, Shardul Thakur