The target of the Indian think-tank has to be towards the next major ODI tournament, scheduled in just over two years, the 2017 Champions Trophy. The tournament will be held in England much like in 2013. (Full Coverage| Venues | Fixtures)
India are the defending champions and won this title with a young squad in 2013. India invested in some talented youngsters then and they were paid with an all-round success in that event.
India need to start invest similarly for the next Champions Trophy in 2017. They need to start now to look for a couple of seam bowling all-rounders. The conditions in England will warrant the inclusion of a couple of players who are seaming all-rounders.
India won the 2013 Champions Trophy with a squad similar to the one at operation at the 2015 World Cup. Then also in 2013 the spinners aided the seam bowlers well, but the absence of a seaming all-rounder was always going to hurt. India has a number of a spinning all-rounders, but the lack of seamers who can bat will always be something that will harm the balance of the side in overseas conditions.
Current ODI and T20 skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has already indicated that he is still looking for that all-rounder. Over the past 10 years a number of such cricketers have been auditioned for this role, but no one has managed to grab the attention.
Irfan Pathan is still around and was first tried out in 2003-04. With Irfan it was his bowling form which was a worry before he went out of favour. But he is slowly coming back to domestic cricket. He was in-fact part of 2013 Champions Trophy squad, but did not play a single match.
In Dhoni’s era, two more all-rounders have been tried out in Abhishek Nayar and Stuart Binny. Nayar obviously did not have the confidence of Dhoni which was evident in the way the skipper bowled seam-up before the Mumbai all-rounder in a 2009 Champions Trophy game.
Binny, on the other hand, made his Test debut under Dhoni in England. He then lost his spot, but managed to make the World Cup squad. Binny did not play a single game, but was tried in the tri-series and the World Cup warm-ups with the new ball.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been bandied about as an option after his superlative batting-performances in England. But his bowling has dropped a bit in the last few months as he was over-used.
He is a potential choice for the role.
Then there are also some potential candidates in domestic cricket like Rishi Dhawan who has been a consistent performer. But it remains to be seen if the selectors and the team think-tank will trust Dhawan enough to gamble in top-flight cricket.
Like with everything every tournament ends with the hope of looking at newer players being thrown into the mix.
The 2011 World Cup ended with a lifeline being thrown to genuine quickies like Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav. Now comes an opportunity to groom seaming all-rounders who will add value to the balance of the Indian ODI squad.