The Indian selectors are closely watching the Indian Premier League as they soon have to finalise the team for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Few slots are still undecided and some extraordinary performance in the IPL could decide which two players are included in the final list of 15.
Several factors will determine what kind of squad the selectors pick. Rohit Sharma, star India opener, said the side looked pretty settled but reckoned the final decision would be based on weather conditions in England for the World Cup.
“I think we are pretty much settled. There are a few spots (undecided) which everyone knows about but again that depends on what the captain and the coach and the selectors think whether they want to go for the extra seamer or the extra spinner or extra middle order player or a reserve opener.
“It also depends upon the conditions. The last time we were in England, the conditions were quite dry. I don’t know how things will be. So if it is like that than you take an extra spinner, as simple as that. If it’s not then probably take the extra seamer,” he said in Mumbai.
With Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuveneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya in the seam seam department and Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal certain to start as spin twins, it’s for the selectors to decide if they need a spin or seam backup in the England bound squad.
Rohit Sharma said the Indian bench strength would largely depend on the captain’s opinion. “I captain my franchise so I know why the captain’s opinion matters in the extra player you want to pick. So I think Virat and Ravi Shastri have to decide the combination and where do they want that extra cushion. So their inputs (will matter) along with the selectors who will be keeping an eye on how those players are doing,” he said.
But if Rohit had his way, he would not want IPL performances to influence World Cup selection. “I personally think IPL should not be criteria for selection. You can’t select a 50 overs team based on a 20 overs franchise competition. Yes form matters. But we have played enough ODI cricket over the last year to know who stands where,” he added.
Like Rohit Sharma, former England cricketer believes the weather in England will be a critical factor. Whether the weather is dry or overcast may decide who starts favourites thinks Pietersen. “It is going to be weather dependent. The last year was one of the most beautiful English summers since 1976. It was the hottest summer recorded in UK with hardly any rain with the conditions extremely dry.
“If the conditions are like they were last year, then I think the subcontinent teams are going to have a massive role to play in the World Cup. If they are not then it’s going to be horrible and green and seaming. Then it’s going to play in England’s favour and the team that copes best in those circumstances,” he said.
“The one down side for England though is that while they have the license to go out for a six from ball one, in those kinds of conditions where it’s seaming and swinging, it’s actually quite difficult to go out and hit.
“As we saw in the West Indies on a wicket that did a bit, England though they had a formidable approach to the way they go with the license to go out and slog, they can get undone,” Pietersen said.