Former India head coach has stated the absence of multiple left handers in the batting lineup as a missing link for India ahead of the 2023 ODI World Cup. Shastri compared the current Indian lineup – missing Rishabh Pant – to the 2011 Indian batting order with the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.
“No, that is going to be a challenge. You will have to see closer to the event. Form again becomes important. You need to strike the right balance. Do you think a left-hander will make a difference at the top? It does not have to be opening, but in the top three or four. You have to weigh all those options. Ideally, in the top six, I would like to see two left-handers,” Shastri told ICC.
The former India cricketer added, “Whenever you have done well [left-handers contributed]. In 2011, you had [Gautam] Gambhir, Yuvraj [Singh] and [Suresh] Raina. Go back to 1974… [Alvin] Kallicharran, [Roy] Fredericks, [Clive] Lloyd…. The same in 1979. The 1983 team was the only one that did not have a left-hander, but that whole tournament was against all odds. In 1987, Australia had enough… they had [Allan] Border at the top, they had another two or three, down the order. In 1996 Sri Lanka proved it again, with [Sanath] Jayasuriya, [Arjuna] Ranatunga, [Asanka] Gurusinha. And then Australia, with the Gilchrists and the Haydens. England have it now. That mix and balance has to be created.”
With Rishabh Pant out of action following his road accident last year, India are short of southpaws in their white ball lineup.
Speaking on the talent at hand, Shastri added, “You have Ishan Kishan. In the wicketkeeping department, you have Sanju. But the left-handers, you have Jaiswal, Tilak Varma. There is enough left-handed talent that can replace any senior player at the moment.”
India will kickstart their 2023 World Cup campaign against Australia in Chennai on October 8.