The wait is over, and the selection committee of BCCI has just announced the Indian squad for the 2019 World Cup. Virat Kohli, the captain of Indian cricket team and chief selector MSK Prasad had stated that the IPL would not have any impact on the team selection for the World Cup. Keeping their word, they have not picked players on the basis of their IPL performances. Dinesh Karthik has been picked in the World Cup squad despite failing to make an impact in this IPL. This shows that selectors have not given importance to the IPL performances.
Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, India were the semi-finalists in the 2015 World Cup and were the World Champions in World Cup 2011.
This is the first World Cup for Kohli as skipper. India is one of the favourites to win this World Cup and will hope to be world champions for the third time.
Let's have a look at the squad of India for this year along with the two previous editions.
#1 World Cup 2019
The current squad of India has two regular openers - Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan with KL Rahul as a reserve opener. The middle order batsmen in the squad are Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya. The selectors have also hinted that Rahul may play as a middle order batsman if the team management thinks so.
India has left out Ambati Rayudu, keeping in mind his struggle against pace. They have also preferred Dinesh Karthik to Rishabh Pant as the reserve wicket-keeper for this World Cup. Pandya and Jadhav are the batting all-rounders, with Shankar also being a part-time bowler.
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are the main spinners with Ravindra Jadeja as a bowling all-rounder. The pace attack of India looks rock solid with likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MSD (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami
The selectors can make changes in the squad by 23rd May 2019. If any player gets injured seriously during the World Cup, he can be replaced with any other player with the permission of the ICC.
#2 World Cup 2015
The squad for WC 2015 consisted of two regular openers - Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, with Ajinkya Rahane as the back-up opener and regular middle-order batsman. The middle order of India containing MS Dhoni, Rahane and Suresh Raina was pretty good.
It was surprising to see that the Indian squad didn't have a back-up wicketkeeper then. The Indian squad had only one batting all-rounder, Stuart Binny and three bowling all-rounders, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
The pace attack of India had the likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma. The bowling performance of India was good except in the semi final against Australia.
Sqaud: Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, *Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
The Indian team, lead by veteran MS Dhoni, won all the six matches in the league stage. They defeated Pakistan, South Africa, UAE, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe in the league stage and Bangladesh in the quarter-final. Australia won against India by 95 runs in the semi-final, which was first their defeat in that World Cup.
Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 412 runs in 8 matches with an average of 50.5, was the leading run-scorer for India. Umesh Yadav was the highest wicket-taker for India, picking 18 wickets averaging 17.83, with an excellent strike rate of 21.44.
#3 World Cup 2011
The squad for 2011 had only two openers - Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, with no reserve opener. The middle order of India was solid, having youngsters like Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan, with Gautam Gambhir playing at one down.
That squad consisted one batting all-rounder - Yusuf Pathan with Yuvraj as a part-time spinner, and two bowling all-rounders - Ravichandran Ashwin and Piyush Chawla. The pace attack of India contained Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth, and Harbhajan Singh as the spinner. This squad had no reserve wicketkeeper, with MSD being the lone 'keeper.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag (vice captian), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra and S Sreesanth.
Sachin Tendulkar was the highest scorer for India. He scored 482 runs with a fantastic average of 53.56. The left-arm pacer, Zaheer Khan was the leading wicket-taker for India, who picked 21 wickets in only 9 matches with an excellent average of 18.76.
Great teamwork and excellent performances by Yuvraj Singh in the whole tournament rewarded the World Cup trophy to India. India defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the final and became world champions after a long wait of 28 years!