Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer fighting for the same spot: Uthappa

In the lead-up to the ODI World Cup 2023, Indian cricket veteran Robin Uthappa has weighed in on the competition for a middle-order spot in Team India. Uthappa believes that Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer will engage in a fierce battle to secure a place in the playing eleven for India's opening game in the ICC event.

Uthappa, in his latest YouTube video, expressed his thoughts, stating, “There will be competition between Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer. The batter who will score more runs in the third ODI will start in the World Cup. The positions of the remaining batters seem set.”

This competition for the middle-order slot adds an exciting dimension to India's preparations for the World Cup, with both Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer aiming to make their mark.

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However, it's worth noting that Ishan Kishan didn't participate in the third and final ODI against Australia due to illness, which could impact his chances in this crucial showdown.

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Uthappa also shared insights into the form of skipper Rohit Sharma, who appears to be in sublime touch before the World Cup. He commented, “I love the fact that Rohit Sharma is playing according to his tried-and-tested ODI template. He is taking some time initially and then plays positively according to the situation. He is playing exceptionally well.”

Additionally, Uthappa expressed optimism about the return of senior batsman Virat Kohli, who took a brief break following the Asia Cup 2023 campaign. He said, “The master is doing what he does well. It's good to see that he has gotten a break. He is fresh and is coming to play the last ODI against Australia and will then go straight into the World Cup, and we can hope very good things from him moving forward.”

Uthappa further highlighted India's impressive turnaround following their T20I series loss to the West Indies earlier this year. He suggested that India's current form indicates they are peaking at the right time and could be on the verge of a successful run. 

“India, after losing to West Indies, bounced back, won the Asia Cup, and sealed the Australia series, leading into the World Cup as the No. 1 ODI side. [They are] turning things around at the right time. I suspect that this is the start of a purple patch. When you look at things that are going on around this side and the results that the team is delivering, I have a feeling that this is the start of a purple patch, and it is very good news for India,” Uthappa explained. 

As India prepares for the World Cup, the third ODI against Australia, although a dead rubber with the series already decided, serves as a critical platform for individual players to stake their claim in the team for the much-anticipated tournament.