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The Roar



Has an Asia cup win solved India's problems before Cricket's World Cup?

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Roar Guru
19th September, 2023

A few weeks back, I thought that the Indian team had too many pieces up in the air and wondered how and where all of them would fall. After watching India win the Asia cup with a dominating performance, I guess the pieces have fallen almost perfectly in place. Let’s take a look back:

How well would Jasprit Bumrah return to competitive cricket?

Bumrah has returned to international cricket fully fit and bowled brilliantly in the Asia cup. He did not set the tournament on fire with the ball but showed enough evidence that his pace, line and length are in ship shape for the World Cup.

Bumrah started his Asia cup campaign with a miserly 1/18 against Pakistan and finished it with 2/30 and 1/23 against Sri Lanka in the Super 4s and the finals. Bumrah’s bowling to top order Left-handed batters was an exhibition in every match he played in this tournament. On top of his bowling, his cameo with the bat against Pakistan in the league phase had top-class shots. Jasprit adds a bit of meat to the tail-end of Indian batting.

Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Will KL Rahul keep well and bat well after his injury layoff?

KL Rahul has been a target of Indian cricket fans’ ire for many months due to his underperformance in T20 and Test cricket. That ire of the fans quite undeservedly carried into ODIs, where KL Rahul has been a key performer for a few years now. Since KL took up the wicketkeeping role, he has helped the team pick the extra bowler to compensate for the lack of top-class all-rounders in the squad, particularly pace-bowling all-rounders. KL, like Bumrah, kicked off his return to competitive cricket in style with a century and a couple of attractive 30s. He kept well behind the wickets, taking good catches and effecting stumpings.

Will Hardik Pandya shine with the ball?


Hardik Pandya, like KL, is another multi-role player India cannot afford to miss. His bad back had impaired his bowling in international cricket. However, during the Asia cup, Hardik bowled consistently above 135kph, extracted seam movement and high bounce from the pitch; all signs of a pace bowler in good rhythm and physical fitness. His spell against Pakistan, where he got Babar Azam bowled, was a brilliant one to watch. Hardik’s spell in the Super 4s match against Sri Lanka was instrumental in slowing down the dangerous partnership between Dhananjay De Silva and Dunith Wellelage and making De Silva play an injudicious shot against Ravindra Jadeja at the other end.

Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer

Hardik Pandya. (Photo by Matt King – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Will Ishan Kishan be a good back up for KL Rahul?

Before this Asia cup, Ishan Kishan’s ability to score runs against high quality bowling attacks was a big question on the minds of the Indian fans. In the few opportunities he got against strong teams, he often looked hurried by the quicker bowlers. Ishan Kishan’s 81 against Pakistan in the league phase set aside doubts about his ability. In this match, Ishan and Hardik baled India out of a precarious situation of being 4/66 and took the team to a respectable score of 266.

Will India have a reliable No.4 batter?

Since the 2019 World Cup India has struggled to find a stable and reliable No.4 batter. Shreyas Iyer took up this role and performed well in favourable conditions. However, his injury earlier this year brought back the instability in this position. India has tried multiple options until the Asia Cup, and none cemented their place for this role. Shreyas Iyer returned to the fold in the Asia cup, played a short innings against Pakistan and then injured himself again. So, this mishap has sent the Indian team back to the drawing board. India’s No.4 batter is a question that continues to annoy Indian team management.


Will India find enough allrounders to beef up their lower-order batting?

The batting success of Axar Patel in the lower order is a significant find for the Indian team. However, Ravindra Jadeja’s loss of form with the bat has raised a big concern for the team. In addition to Jadeja’s lack of form, Shardul Takur’s inability to raise his batting standards has pushed the team into a corner. If India plays on a spinner-friendly surface in the World Cup, they can get away with spin bowling allrounders like Axar Patel, Washington Sundar and Ravindra Jadeja.

However, if they play on flat tracks, they will be forced to play a third seamer like Mohammed Shami, who is only a slogger, or Shardul Thakur, who is not in good batting form. With Kuldeep at No.10, Siraj at No.11 and Bumrah at No.9, the team cannot afford another weak batter at No.8. Rohit Sharma, the Indian Captain, will be forced to gamble with a spin bowling allrounder like Axar or Sundar on a flat wicket rather than weaken the batting with a No.11 masquerading as a No.8.

Many of the pieces up in the air before the Asia cup have fallen into place for Rohit. However, he will be concerned that he still has two important questions not fully answered.