The 'other' Team India: Can this 15-man squad take on the best in the world?

India have named their 15-man squad for the 2019 World Cup in England. But there are some seeming contenders who have missed the bus. Here, we take a look at a possible second set of 15 Indian cricketers who too can take on the best in the world.

Openers

Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw: The 19-year-old batting sensation came of age when he scored a ton on Test debut against West Indies. His flair with the bat and cricketing brains have impressed everyone. He is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket.

Mayank Agarwal: This Bangalore lad has shown great aptitude with the bat, both in Indian Premier League and in his debut Test series Down Under a few months back. In 2018, Mayank and Prithvi formed a lethal opening pair for the Indian ‘A’ side. Who’s to say they cannot recreate the magic for the senior team, if given a chance!

POLL: Are you happy with India’s World Cup squad?

Middle-order

Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane

Ambati Rayudu: Said to have been the ideal No.4 for the World Cup, Rayudu narrowly missed out on a ticket to England due to his inconsistent IPL performances. With an ODI average of 47, he still has the ability and class to to take on the best bowling in the world.

Sanju Samson: In the last three IPL seasons, Samson has often been the lone warrior with the bat for Rajasthan Royals. His 102* this year, against a quality Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack, was a testament to his temperament and free-flowing strokeplay.

Nitish Rana: Rana is as handy with the bat as he is with the ball. A stylish left-hander adept at building long innings with the right mix of defence and offence, Rana’s right-arm off-spin too has the knack of breaking breaking partnerships in the middle overs.

Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain): Being the most experienced of this lot, Rahane is a cool and calm customer with a penchant for staying long at the crease and keeping the scoreboard ticking. You can write away his form, but you can’t discount his experience.

Shubman Gill: This stylish young right-hander was India U-19’s mainstay with the bat last year when the colts lifted the junior World Cup. Earlier this year, he made it into the Indian team but failed to leave a mark. Though it’s still early days for Gill, it will not be long before he laves his impression at the senior level too.

Wicket-keepers

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant: This explosive southpaw can be used anywhere in the batting line-up, be it as a pinch-hitter at the top or at the bottom. If Pant learns to hold his game and improves his wicket-keeping skills, he will be almost irreplaceable after MS Dhoni hangs his boots.

Parthiv Patel: Another experienced player, this veteran wicket-keeper has been in a rich vein of form of late. A fearless opener, Parthiv, has often got Royal Challengers Bangalore off to explosive starts. Decades of international exposure has certainly taught him how to hold his ground against quality bowling. Parthiv can be a back-up for the opening slot as well since he has been more comfortable up the order.

All-rounders/Spinners/Pacers

Ravi Ashwin (Captain)

Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain) – Ashwin has been in tremendous form with the ball in IPL, taking wickets at regular intervals at an excellent economy rate. His shrewd decision-making and ‘win-at-all-cost’ attitude has come to the fore this IPL. His bag of tricks would have proved to be a handy weapon in England.

Krunal Pandya: Like his brother Hardik, Krunal can hit the ball a long way and score quickly. His slow left-arm off-spin is the clincher in the middle overs. Spirited in the field, providing important breakthroughs and explosive with the bat, Krunal has got all it takes to be a complete limited overs cricketer. No reason why this hardworking cricketer can’t give the big boys a run for their money.

Deepak Chahar: A few days ago, CSK’s Chahar broke record for the most number of dot balls in a match in IPL by bowling 20 of those against KKR. Chahar’s control with the ball, both while opening the bowling and at the death, puts him right at top with the Bumrahs and Shamis.

Ishant Sharma: The lanky Delhi pacer has been in sublime form since the start of 2018. Ishant’s aggressive brand of bowling didn’t just stop with the England and Australia Test series. He has come out of the dead and lit up his prospects in limited overs as he has successfully carried his form into the IPL. He is one of India’s standby players for the World Cup.

Navdeep Saini: Known for his pace and bounce, this Haryana lad has been quite a find. He has been named as one of the standbys for the World Cup squad. RCB’s bowling coach Ashish Nehra sees him as the one who can make his debut for India in the World Cup. Will that happen? Only time will tell.

Khaleel Ahmed: Being a left-arm pacer, Khaleel brings variety to the Indian attack. He has the uncanny ability of getting hit for quick runs, but then turning the match around with quick wickets. If he works on his control, Khaleel will be quite a force to reckon with.

We have excluded talented young pacers like Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti as they are out of action because of injury.

Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments section.