India head into the 2019 ICC World Cup on the back of a comprehensive victory over Bangladesh in their second warm-up game. While the win on Tuesday would have surely calmed Virat Kohli’s nerves after the lopsided defeat to New Zealand a few days earlier, there’s still an air of uncertainty as far as the team’s first-choice playing XI is concerned.

With their first match of the tournament just a week away, there are a couple of positions in the team that are not quite locked. KL Rahul’s classy century against Bangladesh has done his chances of batting at No 4 a world of good, but can Vijay Shankar be ruled out just yet?

Then there’s the bowling combination that Ravi Shastri and his coaching staff have to sort out with Kohli. India have a balanced bowling attack this time around, with plenty of options to pick from. Still, among the six bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja – India need to find the ideal combination.

Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav’s presence will also have a major bearing on that.

On the sidelines of the ESPN ‘Built to Play’ project in Mumbai on Wednesday, former India fast-bowler and 1999 World Cupper Ajit Agarkar shared his thoughts on what the team could look like come 5 May.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

India has strong bowling options for the World Cup this time, but most of them don’t inspire confidence with the bat. Will that have a bearing on the playing XI?

Not really. I know there are teams that bat deep, but if you need 8-9-10 to get you runs then you’re in trouble anyway. I think India’s top seven is formidable, especially the top three. If they get going, we’ve seen in recent times how they can win games. My opinion is that you should pick your five best bowlers and go from there. You’re going to struggle to win if you don’t do that. I don’t think it makes sense to add some sort of batting at No 8 for the sake of it. Batting should be done by the batsmen, I don’t think we should look at our bowling department from that aspect.

Jadeja scored an impressive half-century against New Zealand. He was also the most economical spinner for India in both the warm-up games. Has he done enough to earn a spot in the team?

If I had the choice, I would pick two wrist spinners ahead of Jadeja. Unless the conditions are dry and we want to play all three of them. But that is highly unlikely. Pandya can be the third seamer. The wrist spinners have shown what they are capable of in the last two-three years. People are going by Yadav’s form in the Indian Premier League, but that is completely different. Wrist spinners have shown how they can perform in the middle overs, and they are going to have to do that again. Life will be much easier for the team if they get wickets in the middle overs.

The search for a long-term No 4 batter seems eternal now. While chief selector MSK Prasad said a few months ago that Shankar would bat in that position in the first match at the World Cup, Rahul seems the front runner at this point after his effort against the Kiwis. Who would be your pick?

One innings shouldn’t decide someone’s fate, either way. Shankar was my No 4 in the team I had picked a few weeks ago. It looks like this innings by Rahul is going to change things, though. Anyway, Kohli likes Rahul. He’s surely a fabulous player, but we don’t quite know if he can deliver at No 4. Whatever runs he has got at the international level have been at the top of the order. This is a different position for him to bat at but the good thing is that he has got some runs under his belt, so it would not be the worst thing to go his way. Shankar is not in red-hot form either. Unfortunately, he got just one hit in the warm-up games as compared to the two that Rahul got. I would still stick to Shankar but I think it’s going to be Rahul now.

What are your thoughts on India’s fast-bowling attack? What combination would you go with?

We have seen what Bumrah can do. He rarely has a bad day, which is a huge plus. I think Shami should play ahead of Kumar. He’s in better bowling form. Our attack is really potent. If you look at the balance of the attack, with two wrist spinners and a finger spinner, there is a lot of experience and variety. Probably the only thing missing is a left-arm pacer, but Bumrah’s quality more than makes up for most things. It all depends on how you perform on the day but at the moment our bowlers look in good shape. They look incredibly fit despite a long IPL.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan did not fire in both practice matches and have not been in the best form for a while now. Does that concern you?

Dhawan was in decent form in the IPL and even Sharma got some runs. They are very important players for us. The conditions will hopefully be a bit better as compared to the practice matches. India batted first both times which is tougher. They both have got enough runs in ICC tournaments, so the experience is there. Of course, you want to be in form going into a tournament like the World Cup, but I don’t think there’s reason to worry.