With Shikhar Dhawan sidelined for at least the next couple of matches, how can India line up in the absence of the hard-hitting opener?
#1 Four batsmen, one wicketkeeper, two all-rounders, four bowlers
Dhawan’s injury would mean an all but automatic promotion for KL Rahul to fill the opener’s slot left void. Should India decide to field the aforementioned combination, however, the number 4 slot would be up in the air. There had been a lot of noise post-Dinesh Karthik’s inclusion in the final squad in place of Pant and now would be the perfect time to bring him into the fold.
Karthik’s patchy form in 2019 against quality opposition certainly raise doubts – the last time he scored a 50 in ODIs was in 2017. But he will certainly be itching to prove himself, especially considering the fact that he has never had the opportunity to prove himself at a World Cup – his last selection coming 12 years ago in 2007.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah
#2 Three batsmen, one wicketkeeper, three all-rounders, four bowlers
In place of a specialist batsman, India could very well favour the inclusion of another all-rounder to add depth to the lineup. Kohli could be prompted to draft Vijay Shankar into the team instead of Dinesh Karthik, the all-rounder having earned his place in the squad owing to Hardik Pandya’s controversial ban from the team back in January.
Shankar doesn’t represent much of an upgrade on Karthik in terms of batting and both can be considered equally skilled in terms of fielding. He does, however, provide an extra bowling option although the management might be unwilling to try the combination considering India play at Trent Bridge next – a batsman’s paradise.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah
#3 Three batsmen, one wicketkeeper, three all-rounders, four bowlers
Keeping in place the same combination as the one mentioned before, India could vary the choice of the all-rounder they pick. Ravindra Jadeja has already played in the 2015 World Cup and his experience might hold him in good stead when called upon.
A spinner, Jadeja has the uncanny ability to choke the opposition with his tight length(s) and would also offer that extra bit on the field – arguably the best fielder in limited overs cricket. He is also an able batsman and would be useful in finishing games off.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah