The Indian selectors today announced team India’s 15-member squad for the upcoming 50-over World Cup 2019 in England and Wales. While most players were sure shot certainties, there was a lot of debate around the contenders for the number 4 spot in the lineup and a backup wicket-keeper. The selectors finally opted for the experience of Dinesh Karthik over the exuberance of Rishabh Pant.
KL Rahul and Vijay Shankar were preferred over Ambati Rayudu for the number 4 spot. In the bowling department, the selectors opted to go with only 3 seamers in the form of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India is scheduled to play its first match against South Africa on 5th June. Here, we take a look at India’s best playing XI for the upcoming World Cup.
Top Order (Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli)
Probably amongst the top-3 white-ball players in the game, Rohit Sharma is one of India’s biggest match winners. The right-hander is one of the biggest hitters of the game and can play the big shots at will. India’s chances at the World Cup would depend on his performances against the moving ball in England.
While Shikhar Dhawan recent form may not be inspiring, he is still India’s best choice to open with Rohit Sharma in England. Dhawan’s past performances in ICC tournaments offers hope for Indian fans. These two have been the most destructive pair in ODI cricket during the past few years.
There is no better player in the 50-over format than India’s captain Virat Kohli. He can help India chase down any total set by the opposition. He is just 9 hundreds away from breaking Sachin’s record of 49 ODI tons and would be looking to close in on the record during the World Cup.
Middle Order (KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni)
Although KL Rahul’s game is more suited at the top, the talented batsman from Karnataka has shown that he can rotate the strike in the middle overs and can also play the big shots with ease. His recent IPL form makes his case for the no.4 spot more strong. Rahul is expected to start ahead of Vijay Shankar in the playing XI during the World Cup.
Kedar Jadhav has not been at his fluent best with the bat recently but the diminutive batsman’s uncanny knack of picking up wickets with his slow round-arm off-spin makes him an integral part of the team. He can combine with Hardik Pandya to complete the quota of 10 overs of the 5th bowler.
The former Indian captain MS Dhoni still has a lot to offer to the Indian team. His ability to remain cool even in pressure situations to go along with his superlative wicket-keeping skills can help India clinch its third ODI World Cup. MSD has been sensational with the bat in the IPL but whether he can replicate his IPL form into 50-over cricket remains to be seen.
All-rounder and Spinner (Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav)
Hardik Pandya has worked on his batting during the past few months and the results are there for everyone to see. Pandya can tonk the ball in the death overs and can be the finisher team India so desperately needs. He can be a useful bowler as well in the swinging conditions in England. Hardik brings the much-needed balance in India's fielding department too.
Kuldeep Yadav is one of the best spinners in the 50-over format of the game. Kuldeep along with Yuzvendra Chahal has set up many overseas wins for India in the recent past. Batsmen have struggled to decode his bowling variations. He can provide crucial breakthroughs during the middle overs. Virat Kohli many times voiced that wrist spinners can win you games in any given conditions. So don't be surprised if Virat plays both the wrist spinners in English conditions.
Fast bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah)
Mohammed Shami has had a new lease of life in 50-over cricket. His heroics with the ball in Test match cricket earned him a place in India’s ODI set up and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Shami can swing the ball with pace at the start and can also pick up wickets during the middle overs. He has also improved as a bowler at the death as well.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a bit off-colour of late but the swing bowler can prove to be an asset in the swinging conditions of England. He can also be the answer to the death over woes as he can nail in the yorker at will.
Jasprit Bumrah would probably be India’s most important player at the World Cup. Bumrah has come of age during the last year in international cricket and would be leading India’s bowling attack in England. A lot of India’s chances would depend on his performances in the death overs.