Spinners will play a big role in the first half of the ICC World Cup: Kiran More. Cricket

The biggest talking point after India announced its squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup was the absence of an off-spinner, especially R Ashwin. However, due to Axar Patel being injured, the 37-year-old was included for the ongoing series against Australia and he performed well taking four wickets in the first two matches.

Kiran More, who was in the Hindustan Times newsroom as part of the ICC World Cup trophy tour, said Ashwin’s experience could be valuable at this important event (AP-Hindustan Times)

Kiran More, who was involved Hindustan Times Newsroom in Mumbai on Monday as part of the ICC World Cup trophy tour said Ashwin’s experience could be valuable at the crucial event. The former India cricketer and chairman of selectors said an off-spinner in the mix of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja would add the variety that is needed.

“Akshar and Ashwin are both very good but when you look at the batting lineups of other countries, there are a lot of left-handed players,” More said. “So, it is important to have an off-spinner in the team. I am not sure what the pitches will be like but after the monsoon I hope the ball will hold a bit. Spinners will play a big role in the first part of the World Cup.

Captain Rohit Sharma has stressed the importance of a long batting lineup, with Shardul Thakur consistently getting a place in the playing eleven. But the performance of the fast bowling all-rounder has been a bit up-and-down and the team may be tempted to replace him with another spin bowling all-rounder.

“Ashwin and Axar can bat and give the team some balance as all-rounders,” More said. “Any one of them can be included in place of Shardul. And honestly speaking, if you can’t score with seven batsmen, you can’t win the match. So, if any proposal comes, we may have to go with three spinners.

For Rohit, personally, this World Cup is important as he missed being a part of India’s 2011 victorious campaign. Now being the captain, and with the tournament returning to the country for the first time since then, it is a big opportunity for the 36-year-old to finally get his hands on the coveted trophy. India have struggled with injuries to several key players last year, but their wins in the Asia Cup and Australia series have suggested that things are finally falling into place.

“Rohit is very courageous and knows how to deal with the youth,” More said. “He allows his players to do what they want and that sense of freedom becomes important. He has full confidence in his players. For example, supporting Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul till the end would have been the decision of the captain and coach. And they deserve a lot of credit for that because look how well both of those players are performing now. Other captains could have been worried about the injuries of their players but Rohit did not do so.

Rahul has been in really great form since his return from injury and has scored a century and two fifties in five innings. As for More, however, the 31-year-old’s wicket-keeping has been equally impressive.

The former India wicketkeeper said, “I am confident that Rahul will perform brilliantly for India in the World Cup.” “He performed very well in the Asia Cup and mind you, he has come back after a long time out due to injury. He has great hands and has already made some great catches. He is a big player and it is a good sign for India that he is gaining confidence in both departments.

Another player who can be important for India in the World Cup is Hardik Pandya. The 29-year-old, who was appointed the team’s vice-captain, has been bowling at good pace in recent times and played an excellent innings under pressure against Pakistan in the Asia Cup.

“Hardik is going to be the biggest asset for the team,” More said. “These days, you can compare his bowling with Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. He has developed a beautiful slow ball and in-swinger. The way he dismissed Babar Azam in the Asia Cup was brilliant. I think he is bowling the best bowling in Indian cricket at the moment. He gives proper balance to the team which gives comfort to the captain. He takes wickets, is a brilliant fielder, finishes games with the bat and inspires others in the team. He ticks all the boxes. He’s got a little swag, but you need characters on a team.

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