Even if one of the two is available, head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma will feel a bit less pressured about the fragile middle-order, the hot talking point at present.
Chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar will announce the squad on Monday afternoon and there remains a possibility that a 15-member provisional squad for the World Cup could also be decided on the same day.
With the deadline for provisional squad being September 5, the BCCI might wait to announce its squad at a later date.
While there remains a school of thought that India should name the likely 15 to feature in the World Cup, the provision to select 17-member squads (as Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan did) gives them a chance to check-out all options before pruning it down to 15.
While Shardul, with 58 wickets, a half-century and a batting strike-rate of 106-plus from 38 ODIs, is expected to get the nod for his happy knack of picking crucial wickets, a fit-again Prasidh will remain in team management’s scheme of things. It must be noted that Dravid had earmarked the lanky Bengaluru speedster back in 2021-22 as one who was supposed to regularly play 50-over cricket for India. A lower back stress fracture did peg him back for close to a year but he did look fit and hungry during the first T20I against Ireland on Friday.
There will be five spinners in contention for the World Cup berth — wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal along with three finger spinners — left-arm orthodox Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
While Ashwin for his experience in Indian conditions should have been seriously considered, not being kept back for the West Indies ODIs does make one think if he actually can make it to the white ball squad.
Recently, Ashwin was playing red ball cricket in the TNCA league.
Kuldeep, on form and in terms of skill sets, is India’s No. 1 ODI spinner at the moment and an automatic choice.
So is Jadeja, who walks into any format because of his multi-dimensional skills.
With none of the top-order batters rolling their arm over, if Tilak Varma is not picked, then India won’t have a part-time spinner.
Thus instead of picking three specialist spinners and a part-timer, Indian selectors might have to go for four specialist spinners.
Axar has been carried in the ODI set-up for a while and it is unlikely that he would be dropped. At this point, he is ahead in pecking order compared to Yuzvendra Chahal.