Suryakumar hasn’t done much in ODIs yet’: Sehwag and Rohan Gavaskar decode India’s middle-order line-up for World Cup XI
Iyer versus Suryakumar versus Rahul versus Ishan – What will India’s middle-order lineup look like in the ODI World Cup?
On Thursday, Team India will announce their final squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup. With a 2-1 series win against Australia on Thursday, albeit ending in a loss in Rajkot, India have completed most, if not all, of their preparations for the World Cup at home. However, there appears to be only one selection headache, pertaining solely to the playing XI, that has perplexed most veterans and experts and dominated every talk show – what will be India’s middle-order line-up. As the competition between Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul, and Ishan Kishan has heated up, batting legend Virender Sehwag and former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar have given their thoughts on the possible line-up for the 50-over event, which begins on October 5th.
Iyer and Suryakumar were among the last to qualify for the World Cup, with the former scoring a brilliant century in the second ODI against Australia and the latter smashing back-to-back fifties in the series, the second being a career-best 72* off just 37 balls.
Meanwhile, Ishan demonstrated his worth with a fourth consecutive fifty in the Asia Cup match against Pakistan, en route to a stunning 82, despite an early top-order collapse. The knock sparked debate about whether Ishan should be India’s primary wicketkeeper given that he also adds variety to the line-up with his left-handed batting ability, but Rahul put an end to the discussion with a century against Pakistan in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, followed by two fifties against Australia.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Sehwag stated that Iyer’s 105-run knock against Australia in Indore cemented his position as a No.4, forming the middle-order lineup with Rahul at No. 5 and Hardik at No. 6.
“KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya will be at Nos. 6 and 7.” So Suryakumar will not be present in either of those roles. However, there is No. 5. However, if Hardik Pandya is your sixth bowler, Rahul will bat at No. 5, Hardik at No. 6, and then the bowlers. We thought Ishan Kishan could fill in somewhere in the lineup, but if he plays at No. 4, it will be Iyer, Rahul, and Hardik at Nos. 4, 5, and 6, respectively,” he said.
Sehwag, on the other hand, questioned Hardik’s ability to bowl 10 overs for India, explaining that it will play a significant role in determining what India’s middle-order will be. He also stated that if a spot becomes available, Ishan should be selected ahead of Suryakumar due to his left-handed ability.
“How India views this combination now depends on whether they believe Hardik will certainly bowl 10 overs because that will give India an extra bowler.” So Suryakumar cannot fit in there, and even if a slot is available, Ishan should be selected ahead of Suryakumar because he is a left-hander, as happened in the Asia Cup,” he added.
When asked about Suryakumar’s place in the XI, the former India opener stated that the batter has yet to demonstrate his true abilities in the format. And if he does get an opportunity, which is likely in the two warm-up matches, he must score a big hundred to cause another selection headache.
Suryakumar has yet to make an impact in ODI cricket. He only bats in the final 15-20 overs, where he uses his T20 skills, which is undoubtedly important. However, Hardik, Ishan, and Rahul are all capable of performing the same function. So Iyer is officially No. 4. Suraykumar will have to wait, and if he does get a chance at No. 4, he must score a big hundred and demonstrate that he can also score a ton,” he said.
Rohan Gavaskar, who was on the same panel as Sehwag, echoed Sehwag’s sentiments by cautioning the management not to make any last-minute changes to the lineup, referring to head coach Rahul Dravid’s recent revelation. Dravid stated 18 months ago that Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Rahul were India’s confirmed middle-order batters before an unfortunate turn of events forced India to consider alternatives.
“I read somewhere that Dravid stated that Iyer, Pant, and Rahul were India’s middle-order lineup.” If that is the case, making a last-minute change will only demonstrate management’s panic. The change would have occurred if Iyer had not been in top form. But with that hundred, why change?” he asked.