The selection of India’s ODI squad to face Australia in the upcoming five ODIs is mostly on the expected lines. Most of the players who were part of the squad during India’s tour to Australia and New Zealand have been retained.
This is a good sign, as it shows that the core players of the Indian squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup have been identified. However, there is one significant inclusion and an equally crucial omission.
The selection of Siddharth Kaul for the first three ODIs shows that India’s quest for the fourth seamer for the World Cup continues. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have cemented their place in the squad as India’s preferred seamers.
But the fourth seamers position has not yet been grabbed by anybody. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Khaleel, Siddharth Kaul and Deepak Chahar have all been tried in the lead up to the World Cup. None of them have done enough to warrant a position.
Both Khaleel and Siraj, especially the former, have done well in patches in recent times, but have been largely inconsistent. So, the selectors have decided to give another chance to the domestic work-horse Kaul. It remains to be seen whether he can do enough to grab that fourth seamers position.
The exclusion of Ravindra Jadeja from the ODI squad is a significant one. It all but closes the door for the spin all-rounder to stake a claim for a place in the World Cup squad. On one hand, it is a show of faith in the ability of Kedar Jadhav to do the job of that spin all-rounder.
On the other hand, it brings Vijay Shankar into serious contention for a spot in the World Cup squad as the back-up all-rounder to Hardik Pandya. In fact, on specific grounds in England, if the pitch demands the inclusion of only one spinner, then either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal can be selected in the playing eleven and the second spinner’s job can be performed by Jadhav. O such occasions, India could actually have both Pandya and Shankar in the squad.
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The selectors have certainly showed a lot of clarity in their selection of the squad for the Australia series, keeping an eye on the upcoming ICC World Cup.