There were no major surprises in India's provisional squad for the 2023 World Cup, with chief selector Ajit Agarkar announcing the 15-man contingent in a press conference in Kandy on Monday, September 4.
Skipper Rohit Sharma was present alongside Agarkar. A well-balanced squad covering most bases has been picked for the marquee event, which begins on October 5.
The two-time world champions have tried out a host of players over the last year and beyond in the ODI format before zeroing in on their World Cup contingent. There are quite a few who can consider themselves unfortunate to have missed out, and it's a testament to India's strong core of talent that they cannot take part in the event at this point at least.
On that note, we attempt to pick a playing XI consisting of those Indian players who haven't been selected for the 2023 World Cup.
Openers - Shikhar Dhawan (c) and Yashasvi Jaiswal
Shikhar Dhawan is easily the most high-profile omission from India's 2023 World Cup squad. From stepping in as captain in Rohit Sharma's absence in the West Indies and New Zealand last year, he has fallen out of favor with the selectors on the back of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill's exploits.
Dhawan tallied 688 runs in 22 ODIs in 2022 at an average of 34.40. What was alarming was his strike rate of 74.21, with his renowned fluency at the top seemingly amiss even as he scored six half-centuries in this period.
Yashasvi Jaiswal might be uncapped at the ODI level, but having debuted in Tests and T20Is, he might have stood a chance if there was a vacancy up top in the 50-over setup. His List A numbers make for outstanding reading, with 1511 runs at an average of just under 54 after 32 outings, including 7 fifties and five hundreds.
Middle Order - Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Tilak Varma, Sanju Samson (wk) and Washington Sundar
Ruturaj Gaikwad has played just two ODIs till date, and funnily enough, he batted at No. 3 on both instances. He averages over 60 in List A cricket and piled up runs for fun in last year's Vijay Hazare Trophy, including a knock where he clubbed seven sixes off an over en route to a double hundred.
Gaikwad has been named captain of the Indian team for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, with their matches to commence in the first week of October.
Deepak Hooda is clearly off the radar now, but he has played 10 ODIs since his debut against the West Indies in February last year. While he has averaged just 25.50 with the bat after seven innings, he has picked up three wickets with his off-spin in six innings. His last international appearance was in a T20I against New Zealand in February this year.
Tilak Varma might be uncapped in ODIs, but given his presence in the Asia Cup squad, he's clearly the next specialist batter in line for the 2023 World Cup should India need a replacement. It is worth noting that he has been named in the contingent to play the Asian Games.
Sanju Samson can count himself very unfortunate to have not made the cut for the World Cup. His appearances in the 50-over format have been sporadic, but with an average of 55.71 and a strike rate of 104 after 12 innings, he still couldn't find a berth.
Of course, Samson remains third in the pecking order of wicket-keepers in the format after KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan and should be ready to be summoned in case of an emergency.
15 of Washington Sundar's 16 ODI appearances have come since the start of 2022. In this period, he has bagged 16 wickets at 27.18 apiece apart from scoring 233 runs in 9 innings with the bat, including a half-century and a number of cameos.
While Sundar was ruled out of the IPL with an injury halfway through his campaign, it is a surprise that he hasn't been in the scheme of things of the ODI setup since. After all, he offers variety as an off-spinner while also lengthening the depth of India's batting lineup, having stepped up whenever been asked to in the format.
Sundar will also go to Hangzhou as India bid for gold at the Asian Games.
Bowlers - Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik and Prasidh Krishna
Deepak Chahar's long-standing tryst with injuries has certainly played a role in him being discarded from both the ODI and T20I setups. He limped off the field after sending down just three overs in an ODI in Bangladesh last December. It has been a frustrating tale for the seamer, who not only swings the new ball but can also bat, as two half-centuries in the format justify.
Umran Malik's case remains a curious one in its own right. Having begun in promising fashion in the 50-over format, his tendency to leak runs - driven by an ODI economy rate of 6.54 - has cost him a spot in the 2023 World Cup squad despite the raw pace that he brings to the fore.
Prasidh Krishna's combination of pace, bounce and ability to rush the batters off the surface make him a tempting option to turn to in ODIs. His record in the format is outstanding - 25 wickets in 14 appearances at 23.92 apiece. But a prolonged absence from the squad until recently means that he might be a reserve at best for the 2023 World Cup.
Yuzvendra Chahal's omission has made a lot of headlines, with India choosing to go with the lone wrist-spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. Chahal's lack of control and tendency to leak runs has been an issue in both white-ball formats, although his returns in ODIs since 2022 suggest otherwise - 24 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 27.91.
Should India need to call upon an additional spinner to their squad in case of an SOS scenario, Chahal ought to remain in the mix.
India's unselected XI for 2023 World Cup: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Tilak Varma, Sanju Samson (wk), Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik, Prasidh Krishna.
Who among these players do you think was the most unfortunate to miss out on a berth in India's 2023 World Cup squad? Have your say in the comments section below!