NICK HOWSON dusts off The Cricketer crystal ball and looks at how the hosts might look in four years time after their semi-final exit at the hands of New Zealand
The 19-year-old might not be an unknown quantity but there is little doubt he is the next big thing in Indian cricket. Already a Test centurion and with eight List A hundreds he should be a shoo-in for the next World Cup cycle. Captained the Under-19s to World Cup success last year.
Though KL Rahul will be 31 come the next edition, India could go for a new-look opening pair. Abhimanyu Easwaran is a strong contender having hit 233 against Sri Lanka A but Gaikwad has a greater body of work at that level, with two centuries and two fifties in that same series.
Despite having a poor record in World Cup semi-finals, it is difficult to see the ICC's No.1 batsman not being around to lead the team in four years time. Remains an icon of Indian cricket, despite what will be considered another failure at a global tournament.
Much is expected of Prithvi Shaw
Has perhaps not enjoyed the best of starts to his international career but his form in the Indian Premier League in the last two seasons suggests he is starting to adapt to top tier competition. Does have two fifties in five ODI innings and could be the answer to the No.4 conundrum.
Should have been named within the original squad before the tournament and played a credible innings with India in strife against New Zealand. His undoubted talent would suit the middle-order much better than the top four, allowing off the leash.
The top scorer as India won last year's Under-19 World Cup, with 372 runs in five innings including a century in the semi-final win over Pakistan. Already has a hundred for India A and though his short international career has not yielded much success he has the ability to slot anywhere in the batting line-up.
Didn't have a vintage World Cup yet finished with three scores in the 40s and seven wickets. Explosive with the bat and crafty with the ball, Pandya provides acceleration at the end of an innings with a strike-rate of 115 and 154 in T20s, with a knack of taking key wickets and keeping things tight. A player to build the new era around.
Another player applying his trade with India A against Sri Lanka this summer. Has made his name in the IPL taking big-name wickets at key moments. Averages under 18 in the shortest format. Can be handy with the bat having hit four first-class centuries but his bowling needs work first.
Already approaching 90mph aged just 19, he could be the express paceman India have been looking for. Took nine wickets as the Under-19s won the World Cup last year, earning his a call for the IPL from Kolkata Knight Riders. Unable to play due to injury, he is yet to get the global exposure he is sure to get in the coming years.
Shubman Gill's international career thus far has failed to ignite
Should India wish to roll back the years and supplement their side with a left-arm seamer than Khaleel is surely the way to go. Played in the Asia Cup and against the West Indies in the T20 series last year. Took wickets on a consistent basis for the Sunrisers and his unique angles could make him a real asset.
India's stand-out performer from the World Cup. Took 20 wickets with some devilish new ball bowling and some spells at the death which have confirmed his status as the stand-out seamer in the later overs. Simply has to remain part of this side going forward.
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