The World Cup-winning former Indian captain said stressed that Indian team needs all of its main players in prime fitness at the 2023 edition.
On Tuesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) published the schedule for this year’s ODI World Cup, which will be held in India in October and November. The home team will open its campaign against Australia on October 8 before facing archrivals Pakistan a week later at Ahmedabad’s historic Narendra Modi Stadium. India will be looking to end its trophy drought in the ICC tournament, which began in 2013 when the team won the Champions Trophy under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
It was also under Dhoni’s leadership that India won their last ODI World Cup, in 2011, when India shared the hosting duties with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This year, though, India has already suffered a final defeat in the World Test Championship against Australia and is dealing with injury difficulties ahead of the flagship competition later this year.
The side’s main fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, has been out for more than nine months, and Shreyas Iyer and wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul – India’s important middle-order hitters in ODIs – are also out with injury. Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant is expected to miss the competition as he recovers from a serious car accident in December of last year.
In the midst of the injury concerns, former India captain Kapil Dev, who guided the team to its first-ever World Cup victory in 1983, identified Hardik Pandya as another potential injury threat for the team. The all-rounder made a strong comeback from a back injury in the Indian Premier League last year, cementing his place in India’s white-ball squads; he also led India in T20Is this year.
However, Hardik has been hesitant to bowl and has failed to fulfil his full quota on numerous occasions, even in T20Is, let alone the fifty-over format.
“Injuries are an unavoidable part of any athlete’s life.” I’m hoping things improve. I’m constantly worried about Hardik Pandya because he gets hurt so easily. When asked about the Indian squad’s injury problems, Kapil Dev told ABP News, “If all of these players are fit and fine, India can become a compact team.”
“See, a World Cup comes every four years, so you have to be ready.” “We need match practise, and we need more ODIs,” Kapil added, emphasising that the changeover between Tests and T20Is should be put on hold for a while.
Hardik has been selected the team’s vice-captain for the upcoming three-match ODI series against the West Indies in the Caribbean. Earlier this year, when Rohit Sharma was unable to play owing to family obligations, the all-rounder led India in an ODI against Australia.