Former Indian batsman and astute cricket commentator Wasim Jaffer recently proposed his top picks for the Indian squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup. Set to be hosted by India, the 2023 World Cup is a much-anticipated tournament, and as the excitement builds, so too does the speculation over team selection.

Wasim Jaffer, as a part of a conversation on JioCinema, has shared his vision of the ideal Indian squad, creating an intriguing blend of experience and youth. A prominent surprise was his advocacy for the inclusion of veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan, who has not played a game for India since December 2022 and wasn’t part of the 17-member squad selected for the series against West Indies in July 2023. Jaffer believes Dhawan’s vast experience would be invaluable as a backup opener, even if he doesn’t get to start initially.

The former cricketer’s preferred openers trio comprises Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Shikhar Dhawan. His middle-order selections reflect both performance and stability, with Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya at positions three, four, five, and six respectively. His spin contingent comprises Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav, possibly a reflection of the spinner-friendly conditions prevalent in India.

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The need for seamers in Indian conditions isn’t as pressing, so Jaffer chose only two specialist seamers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, in his ideal lineup. He also emphasized the importance of having Hardik Pandya fit enough to bowl a decent number of overs, which would provide balance to the team, adding that even if Pandya bowls seven to eight overs, it’s sufficient.

In terms of backup players, Jaffer opted for Shardul Thakur and Sanju Samson. Thakur as the fourth seamer could potentially be a useful swing bowler in Indian conditions, and Samson as a backup wicketkeeper brings with him batting prowess in the middle order. However, Jaffer also opined that Ishan Kishan could be a potentially strong contender for the backup wicketkeeper role due to his additional ability to serve as an opener.

Ultimately, the former cricketer’s proposed lineup underscores the value of experience and versatility in cricket, particularly in the pressure cooker environment of a home World Cup. Whether or not the selectors agree with his perspective remains to be seen, but Wasim Jaffer’s choices offer a thoughtful perspective on the balancing act that is squad selection.

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