When Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit that famous six of Nuwan Kulasekara over long on at the Wankhade Stadium in 2011, he ended a 28 year long wait for the 50-year world cup and gave us millennials a memory that has been etched into our memory into the deepest fabric of our being.
Since then, Indian team has competed in a couple of world cups in 2015 and 2019 and on both occasions, India has ended up finishing as semifinalists. The 2015 world cup semi final was played against the hosts Australia as we came up short under the leadership of the man himself while the 2019 world cup semi final loss came in as a heartbreak moment for all the Indian fans as Mahi was runout by just a few inches to end the hopes of an Indian win against the New Zealand team.
MS Dhoni has since moved on from the international game and it is a new era that the Indian team has now embarked upon with the likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant taking up the mantle of being the wicket keeping batsmen for the Indian team. This has become the palette for the Indian team as they go in with more bowlers who can bat and keep a long batting line up. With the T20 world cup scheduled for this year it is really likely that they will not be think8ing about the 50 over game yet but as soon as the t20 world cup gets over, the 50 over world cup will become the focal point of everything that happens in the Indian cricket team. This also might be affected by the fact that there is likely to be a change in management with Ravi Shastri expected to step down post the T20 world cup game.
This will also be the first cricket world cup that India will be going into without MS Dhoni in the playing 11 since the 2003 world cup. After playing four 50 over world cups, this will be interesting to see India feature without the man with the Midas touch in 2023. They will have no shortage of experience though as it would be the 4th world cup that Virat Kohli will play and the 3rd world cup that Rohit Sharma would play and they would be really determined to go out with the silverware in their pocket before they leave the game.
There will be also a likely pool of good young players who would be willing to give everything for the team with the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Shubhman gill being in contention.
India’s bowling too has gone from strength to strength with the inclusions of some exciting bowlers like Shardul Thakur and Mohd Siraj. Hardik Pandya by then would also be expected to get back to his bowling best and be a factor as an allrounder. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant would also have a good amount of game time by then. The key bowler though this time around would be Jasprit Bumrah too. In 2019 he proved that he could be very effective in the pressure situations. The pressure situations will be accentuated with the world cup being held in India.
If progressions are anything to be believed, the last 3 world cups have been won by the host nations and if that is to be repeated, it would be the most fitting tribute to the former skipper and talisman of Indian cricket. MS Dhoni. Can’t wait for 2023.