As the countdown to the ODI World Cup 2023 officially commences, former Australia captain Aaron Finch and ex-South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis have weighed in on the key bowlers they believe will play pivotal roles in the tournament. Their assessments shed light on the potential game-changers with the ball.
Mohammed Siraj: A Rising Star on Par with World-Class Veterans
Finch, who boasts extensive international experience, rated Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj highly. In his evaluation, he placed Siraj in the same bracket as renowned fast bowlers such as Trent Boult, Mitchell Starc, and Kagiso Rabada. Finch emphasized the danger posed by new-ball bowlers who can skillfully swing the ball, making them a formidable threat to any batting lineup. He praised Siraj’s current form, highlighting his excellence in the world of fast bowling.
“Well, the reason I retired – Bhuvi. He’s the one that I always tried to avoid, but neither of us are playing now, so that’s I think new ball bowlers who can swing, are a danger to everyone. I think Trent Bolt, Mitchell Starc, and Rabada, these guys, especially Siraj, he’s as good as anyone in the world at the moment,” Finch said in an interview with Star Sports.
Ravichandran Ashwin: A Contingent Selection Dependent on Conditions
When discussing the possible inclusion of spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s final 15 for the World Cup, Finch acknowledged the significance of pitch conditions. He suggested that Ashwin’s selection would hinge on the type of surfaces expected during the tournament.
While he expressed doubts about Ashwin making the final squad, Finch underscored the invaluable experience the seasoned cricketer could offer to the team. He noted Ashwin’s remarkable track record in delivering standout performances in high-stakes matches and proposed that his presence could serve as a mentor to the squad, especially in terms of big-game play.
“I think he might struggle to make it to the final 15, but as somebody who has played so much cricket, I think the rest of the group that is with the Indian team for this current series against Australia, they could learn so much about big game play. Because Ashwin is somebody that stands up in big games, whether it’s a Test match or a T20 game, he has done it all throughout his career. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s there at the moment as a mentor around the group, but I don’t see him making that last 15, unfortunately,” he added.
Faf du Plessis’ Perspective: Agreements and Additions
Faf du Plessis shared Finch’s sentiments regarding key bowlers for the World Cup. He concurred with Finch’s choices, including Boult, Starc, Rabada, and Siraj. Du Plessis emphasized the importance of pitch conditions, highlighting the effectiveness of bowlers who can extract movement or spin from the surface.
“Yeah, I’m similar to Finch. I think it depends on the wickets. You know, if the wicket has got something in it, someone like Siraj who just nibbles the ball a little bit both ways, and he’s trying the off stump the whole time. Boult, those kinds of guys are going to be extremely successful, Rabada, all those guys.”, said du Plessis.
He introduced the name of Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav to the discussion, commending his recent performances. Du Plessis noted that Kuldeep’s ability to turn the ball both ways could make him a tricky proposition for batsmen in conducive conditions.
“But if there is a little bit of spin, you know, someone like Kuldeep has bowled really well in the last six months. When he gets his tail up and he gets one wicket, you know, the next batter’s coming in, he’s quite tricky to face his first few balls because he spins the ball both ways.”, he further explained.