World Cup: Iyer's fitness, Jadeja's batting form still a concern for India

India may have won the Asia Cup, but there are still some unanswered questions

By Anis Sajan

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India's Ravindra Jadeja bats at the nets during a practice session. — AFP
India's Ravindra Jadeja bats at the nets during a practice session. — AFP

Published: Wed 20 Sep 2023, 9:52 PM

Have India ticked all the boxes to be ready for the World Cup starting in two weeks? That’s the question a lot of fans will be still asking even though India were crowned champions in the recently concluded Asia Cup in Colombo

India had an easy win over Pakistan in the Super Four stage and comfortably beat Sri Lanka in a one-sided final but there are still some unanswered questions.

The biggest worry for India is Shreyas Iyer’s fitness as his back spasms troubled him again and he could not play the last three games of the tournament.

A proven performer in ODIs, Shreyas is an excellent player of spin bowling.

More importantly, Shreyas is also a gutsy player who can finish games in close encounters. His recurring injury is a worrying sign but coach Rahul Dravid is confident he will be fit for the Australian series which starts on September 22.

If Shreyas is now fit enough to play three matches against Australia, it will be a good preparation for him ahead of India's first match in the World Cup against the same opponents on October 8 in Chennai.

The second big problem India has faced is the injury to Axar Patel and it looks doubtful whether he will be able to play the Australian series.

So both Rohit Sharma and Dravid will be hoping for Axar's return, at least before the warm-up games.

Even though Axar has not been very impressive with the ball in recent times, India want someone like him at number 8 to finish games as the other three tailenders, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Kuldeep Yadav, can’t be trusted with the bat.

Of late, Ravindra Jadeja has not performed well with the bat and it must be a concern. He was good with the ball in the Asia Cup, but failed as a batsman.

While Hardik Pandya impressed with the bat and ball, India will hope Jadeja, who occupies the crucial number seven position, finds his batting form in the World Cup.

India have also called up Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar for the Australia series, but both have not played ODI cricket for a long time, especially Ashwin.

In the three-match series against Australia, India will be giving opportunities to them both as the selectors want a proper replacement for Axar if he fails to recover from his injury.

The team management will hope to find answers to all these questions in the next few days.


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