Legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble believes there is a gaping hole in Team India’s World Cup 2023 squad in terms of combinations that could hurt them.
What did Kumble say?
Anil Kumble believes that despite the presence of some exceptional talents in both bowling and batting departments, Team India have dearth of quality all-rounders who can bring much needed balance to the playing XI.
“The one problem that perhaps needed to be addressed from the last World Cup to this World Cup (I’m talking about the ODI World Cup) was that we needed more all-rounders, which has never been addressed.
You don’t have batters who come and give you those options, and bowlers giving you some batting is secondary. But I think batters giving you bowling options certainly increases the depth,” Kumble told ESPNcricinfo in a recent Interview.
He also highlighted the systematic and structural failure to develop players with these specific skill sets that are essential in the modern game, despite having a four-year window after the failure in the previous ODI World Cup.
“We had four years and had to develop those players. Instructions had to be given to identified players, and they should have identified and said okay, you are the guys who are going to give me options”, Kumble argued.
Kumble wants batting depth
Anil Kumble also believes that a lack of batting depth can hurt India, and having batters who could bowl would go a long way in solving this problem. The 52-year-old stated the example of Jadeja who should ideally bat at no.8 but can’t because of the lack of bowling options at the top.
“You know for example Yashasvi Jaiswal, I know he bowls a bit of leg break. But I have hardly seen him bowl in any match in the last one year. Shreyas Iyer gives a bit of bowling. Now I don’t know (whether) with his back issue whether he’ll come in and bowl.
Rohit used to bowl with the shoulder dislocation, and I know that he has that problem so he is not gonna bowl. So who’s it gonna be? You need options in (at) the top. If you had that ideally you know in this line-up for an ideal sort of real batting depth, Jadeja at number eight would have been the best option but today he is at number 7,” the former Punjab Kings coach said.
India’s options and examining Kumble’s concerns
In Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Team India have two of the premier all-rounders in the world, whereas most teams in the world are lucky to have one. Shardul Thakur often doesn’t get the credit he deserves but he is a decent bowler and a handy number 8.
Barring England, who are blessed with a plethora of all-rounders, very few teams can match the quality India possesses in this department. If India’s powerful batting line-up is backed by the in-form bowling attack, this issue wouldn’t be a concern.