PALLEKELE: As was expected, India captain Rohit Sharma and chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar sprung no surprise when they announced a 15-member provisional squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup scheduled in India from October 5 to November 19.
Middle-order batter Tilak Varma, who made his T20I debut last month against West Indies and pacer Prasidh Krishna, who returned to the side after a length lay-off during the Ireland T20I series, were left out of the squad.
Wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson, who is a travelling stand-by for the 2023 Asia Cup, also didn't find a place in the 15.
The announcement was made in Kandy, Sri Lanka on Tuesday, a day after India qualified for the Super Four stage of the ongoing Asia Cup.
The Super Four stage is expected to be moved out of Colombo and shifted to Hambantota due to rain.
"There were a couple of fitness issues we had but all three players have come back, KL is looking good. We feel this squad gives us the best balance for this World Cup," chief selector Ajit Agarkar said.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul, who missed the two group stage matches here in Sri Lanka and Kishan are picked as the two wicketkeeper options in the team which also has three left-arm spinners in the form of Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and a wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav.
Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah have been picked as three specialist pacers while Hardik Pandya, the designated deputy to skipper Rohit, and Shardul Thakur will be the pace bowling all-rounders.
Jadeja and Axar will be the spin-bowling all-rounders in the team. September 5 was the deadline to submit the provisional squad to the ICC. However, teams can make changes in the squad till September 28.
The only missing link in the team appears to be the right-arm off-break bowler. The chairman of selectors said there were discussions about including an offie in the team. "Clearly there will be discussions given we have both Jadeja and Axar who spin the ball into left-handers," Agarkar said.
"Both give us depth in batting. Kuldeep takes the ball away. In 50-overs cricket, perhaps you would ideally want an offspinner but this gives us the best balance. Seamers tend to bowl a lot more in ODIs as compared to T20 cricket, and perhaps you're a little more under pressure if you don't have an offie, so we're happy with the guys we have."
If they reach the final, India could play a total of six games in the Asia Cup followed by a three-match ODI series against Australia at home. Ahead of the World Cup, they will play two warm-up games.
India World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj