With the World Cup over, the focus of Indian cricket selectors shifts to developing a strong team for the next World Cup, to be held in India in 2023. Luckily for Indian team, most of the players in the current team would be around, if form and fitness persists, for the next edition of World Cup as well.
But the team for the limited-overs edition of the West Indies tour is likely to see many changes, not because of the disappointment in the World Cup, but due to the need for resting some of the main players. Indian cricketers have had a hectic season where they have gone from one series or tournament to the next with very little rest time in between.
So, when MSK Prasad sits down to pick his team, he would be certain to give an opportunity to some of those players who haven't been in the team recently. Let's look at 5 such names.
One of the unluckiest cricketers of this generation, Manish Pandey hasn't nearly got the opportunities that he deserves. Another Indian batsman who looks like a million bucks when playing his shots, he has also shown the substance to be successful at the top level. His hundred in the 5th ODI in Australia during the 2016 series, when his team was chasing a score of over 300, is testament to his quality. But the right-hander has brought himself back into focus with a brilliant performance in West Indies for India A. His hundred in the 3rd unofficial ODI once again showed his quality. The fact that he was selected in this team suggests that he is being considered for the Indian side. With India requiring a dependable no. 4 batsman badly, he may well be the answer. It would be very strange if he is not picked.
Regarded by many as the future of Indian batting, Shubman Gill has already made his international debut and has played two ODIs. However, with the World Cup approaching, the team didn't have the luxury of affording the 19-year old a long run in the team. But now with the big event over, the selectors and team can let the hugely talented youngster establish himself in the side. It is time to let Gill emerge as an international cricketer who can be a major player in 2023.
India's fast bowling stocks are richer than ever. But in this series, the Men in Blue may not need their best bowling line-up. The Windies are a brittle batting side which makes them a great team to test new bowlers against. Khaleel Ahmed, who has been given opportunities and has shown genuine quality, will certainly have more chances now. The 21-year old has been in good form in the Caribbean for India A. Jasprit Bumrah should be given a rest after having played a key role both for Mumbai Indians in IPL and India in World Cup. Ahmed might be the one to get a go in his place.
The fact that Mayank Agarwal, the incumbent opener in Tests, got selected in the Indian squad for the World Cup after Vijay Shankar's injury, proves that he is being seen as a future prospect in the ODIs as well. Agarwal showed great technique and composure in Australia and left even Allan Border impressed. The former Aussie captain said he sees glimpses of Virat Kohli in the young Mayank's play. With KL Rahul not looking assured despite his runs in the World Cup, Agarwal may just get an opportunity to become the reserve opener in his place.
Whether MS Dhoni retires or not, he is certain to not play in 2023. This means India need a new keeper. Rishabh Pant is popular but hasn't done enough to prove his mettle in ODIs. Ishan Kishen, who had some good performances in IPL and is highly regarded by many, could get a chance. Though he is yet to get a big score in West Indies for India A, his talent may well get him selected. Pant's dismissal in the semi-final disappointed a lot of people. Perhaps, the selectors would look to put pressure on him by having Kishen alongside him.