The Indian team is departing for the World Cup 2019 to the UK, even as the audience is reeling under the 1983 and 2011 successes. Even now, with the event being scheduled right after the IPL 2019, the cricket adrenaline is still running high amongst cricket fans. It goes without saying that expectations from the Indian Squad are rather high as the side also comes forward as all-time favorites alongside the English team. With 14th of July as the scheduled D-day, all are expecting these two teams to face each other for the cup on that date. This time around, the Indian team is stamped as a breed apart due to several reasons. Here is a look at the lineup and their positives that could breeze the Indian side to a win.
The squad comprises of Rohit Sharma, the Vice Captain, and Virat Kohli as Captain leading the team. Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja are each set to be All-Rounders. MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, and Lokesh Rahul will assume the roles of the Wicket Keeper. Finally, a powerful bowling round-up is built by Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, and Mohammed Shami.
Predicted Playing XI:
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, JaspritBumrah, Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal.
With 4500+ runs scored over a period of nine years; the Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan partnership rank 7th in the number of runs scored by a duo. But the middle order does come under scrutiny, as it did in recent times, and therefore, a lot of anticipation will weigh over their shoulders. Although, this well-trained pair of players is unlikely to succumb to any kind of pressures, as they stand stoic against most of the challenges that have come their way, which is evident from their previous performances.
Virat Kohli may not seem to have gathered headlines due to his IPL 2019 performance, but he is not to be underestimated at all. Present at the number three position, viewers are all set to watch out for his strokeplay and lifestyles too. As captain, he will pace the team’s innings according to requirements as ODI formats run through his veins. Post-match conversations and interviews with Kohli have constantly revolved around the World Cup, indicative of the man’s commitment to achieving. He is also looking to repeat performances and legacies left behind by greats such as Steve Waugh, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, MS Dhoni, and Ricky Ponting. For Kohli, the next two months are more than just crucial.
The speculation and debate around the fourth spot have been long and especially for India continues to be a particular point of interest. A number of batsmen have played more than seven innings at the fourth place in the Indian team since the 2015 World Cup. Manish Pandey, being the only player at a low average of about 37 runs, the others have done really well, to date. But Indian cricket expects a little bit more than mediocrity and therefore, Vijay Shankar with his all-round ability has been chosen for the job. Hardik would have been preferred ideally, if only he had been a 10-over bowler. He even out-shone Virat Kohli at Nagpur in the second ODI played against Australia but not enough to be given a lead role in the World Cup. The likes of Dinesh Karthik and KL Rahul cannot stay away from ODI for too long.
Undeniably, the number 5 spot goes to MS Dhoni even as most of us would prefer to see him standing with the bat at number 4. On an overcast day, none of us would want Kohli and Dhoni at the pavilion after three wickets down and the openers back in the shed. But when Dhoni bats at number 5, he can keep the Indian side well-glued and displays complete control over the game.
Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya will be the tails and finish the game. Pandya’s performance was above par in the recent IPL 2019 and he has rightfully earned a reputation as India’s premier ‘all-rounder’ batsman, while Jadhav has only managed an IPL that wasn’t particularly up to the mark. Hardik Pandya seemed to have a determination and purpose in his swagger, every time he came along to bat. He would end up hitting the ball hard enough to render it into the stadium’s back row audience. Jadhav has the ability to bat immensely from the first ball itself and is a top-order batsman with a strike rate of over 100 runs. It depends on how both of them perform and if they will take India to a score of above 300 runs.
Traditionally, India has always been known for its batting prowess. There have been some changes this time around with pace bowlers Shami, Bhuvaneshwar, and Bumrah reversing the trend. These players are a perfect combination of grit, steadiness and of course, some brilliant bowling. Nevertheless, Shami did outpace Bhuvneshwar by just a bit as he is markedly lethal with a new ball, in his current form. He uses the seaming of the ball at will, generating a great bounce. The impact is added with the extra yard of pace. During this World Cup, Bhuvneshwar is not due to get a lot of game time unless the conditions are really overcast. It is speculated that it is because of Shami’s form that Bhuvneshwar has been excluded from the main World Cup game.
Bumrah is a world-class bowler and is one amongst the best. He will never disappoint even as he bowls at any stage of the game. Post-2017 Champions Trophy, the Indian side has significantly contributed to a transformation in the limited overs games, particularly due to the spinners.
Kuldeep’s mystery bowling has most batsmen baffled, and a highly agile Chahal has fooled many of them as well. In a team sport, the duo shares great chemistry and bonding between each other, which only adds to the existing spirit. India’s tail seems to be extended when both these bowlers are brought into the fray.
Jadeja, while not an overly skilled batsman, may even concede 50 runs, as a bowler, with a maximum of 2 wickets. But Chahal and Kuldeep are expected to tear through any batting lineup. If the key to 300 and above runs, lies with Jadhav and Pandya, then it is also left to be seen if Bumrah can defend at least 60 or 90 runs on the scoreboard, in the last 10 overs.
Each and every one of the fans is not expecting India anywhere but in the finals. This is also India’s best shot at the World Cup given the weaponry at Kohli’s disposal. The first four opponents are Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Definitely, we can definitely look forward to some intensity and fierce decision-making under Virat Kohli.
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