India lost to Australia by a big margin in the 2003 ODI World Cup final. While it was India’s poor show that led to the result, maybe, even the management could have done better in picking a more balanced XI. Cut to 2023, India and Australia will lock horns again in the World Cup final. The men in blue would be keen to win this match. On that note, here, we take a look at two players who surprisingly missed out on the playing XI in the 2003 ODI World Cup final against Australia.
1) Anil Kumble missed out on the playing XI for the 2003 ODI World Cup final
Anil Kumble hardly played in the 2003 World Cup. Although he was a legendary bowler, he failed to get his chance in the tournament. In the spin department, while Harbhajan Singh was the leader, the likes of Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag supported the off-spinner.
Kumble might have been useful against that Aussie side. It was Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn who took the game away from India that day. Had Kumble been there, maybe, the bowling attack could have been more penetrative in the middle overs.
2) Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar is one of the players who surprisingly missed out on the playing XI in the 2003 ODI World Cup final against Australia. The current Indian Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar was also a part of the 2003 ODI World Cup squad.
However, the Mumbai player did not get a chance to play in the final. Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath led the pace attack while Ashish Nehra was there as the third pacer. Ashish had done well previously and hence, he deserved the spot in the playing XI. India did not have any genuine all-rounder for that game. Dinesh Mongia played in that role, bowling seven overs while also batting in the lower middle-order.