The Indian cricket team’s journey in the ODI World Cup 2023 has been impressive so far, remaining undefeated. However, there’s a critical aspect of their squad composition that’s been often overlooked – the absence of a genuine batsman at the number 8 position. This omission may be impacting the team’s overall performance in subtle ways, slowing down their batting innings and making them less competitive in high-scoring matches.

The decision to drop Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur in favor of Mohammad Shami and Suryakumar Yadav has been a talking point in this tournament. While the Indian team’s results seem to validate this strategy, there’s a strong case to be made for a more balanced approach, which includes the inclusion of a batsman and a better bowling all-rounder.

Let’s break it down:

1. The Missing Batsman: The absence of a proper batsman at number 8 means that the batsmen in the top order are more cautious and circumspect, particularly in the latter stages of an innings. In high-pressure games, this can lead to a reduced scoring rate, especially when compared to teams like South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The belief that the current strategy is working may be masking this underlying issue.

2. The Ideal Replacement: To address this concern, it’s crucial to consider the inclusion of a reliable lower-order batsman. Ishan Kishan’s addition to the squad, preferably as a left-handed batsman, would provide the much-needed depth to India’s batting lineup. Kishan has demonstrated his power-hitting abilities and adaptability, making him a strong candidate to boost the team’s run-scoring capabilities.

3. The Bowling All-Rounder: In place of Kuldip Yadav, who provides limited batting prowess, selecting an experienced all-rounder like Ravichandran Ashwin could make a significant difference. Ashwin brings not only his spin bowling skills but also his batting experience to the table. This addition would enhance India’s lower-order batting strength, ensuring that the team can push for higher totals with confidence.

4. Realizing the Impact: It’s worth noting that the absence of a genuine batsman at number 8 has a cascading effect on the rest of the batting order. Batsmen like Suryakumar Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, who should ideally be able to play more freely, find themselves having to be cautious. This shift in approach is not ideal for a team aiming to dominate the ODI format.

As India gears up for the remaining matches in the ODI World Cup 2023, it might be the perfect time to experiment with this alternative squad combination. The inclusion of Ishan Kishan and Ravichandran Ashwin would not only provide the team with additional batting prowess but also a more balanced approach that could prove crucial in high-pressure situations.

In the quest for World Cup glory, sometimes the path to success requires a strategic rethink, and the 2023 World Cup might just be the right time for India to make that shift in their squad composition.