Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir fears Team India may find itself in trouble if Rahul Dhavid’s team fails to find a similar-for-like replacement to one of their stars in the run-up to the ICC World Cup in 2023. Team India’s new look kicked off the ODI World Cup with a win over Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium, Tuesday.

Rohit Sharma has promoted white-ball star Pandya to his position as Rohit’s deputy in limited-overs cricket. This led to a thrilling win for the hosts over the Islanders by two runs. Pandya will replace KL Rahul, the opener for Team India as Vice-Captain. He is expected to succeed Rohit, the veteran opener, as the next Captain of Men In Blue.

Gambhir, an ex-India opener, said that India needed to find a backup for Pandya due to his rapid rise. Gambhir said that India needs to quickly find a backup to Hardik. India could be in serious, serious trouble if he gets hurt. Pandya-led Team India will play Sri Lanka in the T20I series decider at Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

The two-time World Cup champion also said that Team India’s experienced campaigners should still be keen to play ODI cricket in the World Cup. Gambhir believes that players should prioritise ODI cricket, while taking a break for the shorter format in 2023.

“The core group should concentrate on ODIs in this year.” They can certainly take a rest from T20 cricket if they need it, but not from ODI. They need to play together. I think that the biggest mistake Indian cricket has made during the last two World Cups is that they [the core player] have not played enough cricket in the lead up to them being there,” Gambhir stated.

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