With some good performances in IPL 2017, Shikhar Dhawan is expected to feature in India’s ICC Champions Trophy squad.(PTI)
With some good performances in IPL 2017, Shikhar Dhawan is expected to feature in India’s ICC Champions Trophy squad.(PTI)

ICC Champions Trophy: Who will win the race to Indian cricket team

Although there is some uncertainty whether the Indian cricket team will defend their ICC Champions Trophy crown in England next month, boycott fears have eased with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) asking the BCCI on Thursday to name the squad and help Virat Kohli’s side prepare for the tournament.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Ahaan Gupta
UPDATED ON MAY 04, 2017 06:59 PM IST

With the ICC Champions Trophy less than a month away, and the BCCI expected to announce the squad anytime (the deadline was April 25), HT takes a look at who is certain to make the cut and who stand the best chance among the rest in the 15-player side.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Select Indian cricket team, SC administrators order BCCI)

The 13 who are expected to be on the flight to London:

Batsmen: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness).

All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja.

Wicket-keeper: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Pace bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.

Spinner: Ravichandran Ashwin (subject to fitness)

This leaves scope for a maximum of four more slots to be filled --- especially if Rahul and Ashwin miss out due to fitness. The selectors then are likely to pick a third opener, spinner/middle-order batsman, and a fast bowler.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Administrators slam BCCI’s negative, combative approach)

These are the players in the reckoning:

Third Opener:

* Shikhar Dhawan is a likely option given his steady IPL performances. He also has the advantage of being a left-hander.

* Robin Uthappa, a member of India’s victorious 2007 World T20 squad, is in excellent nick in the IPL, can keep wicket and looks determined to impress the selectors again.

* Gautam Gambhir, 35, is again solid with the bat for Kolkata Knight Riders, though he may have to battle for a slot, especially if selectors pick Dhawan.

(Read | Gautam Gambhir deserves to be part of Champions Trophy squad: Sourav Ganguly)

Fast bowler:

* Mohammed Shami: If fit, he is a certainly. But his playing only three games for Delhi Daredevils raises some doubt whether he is free of the knee trouble that sidelined him during the home international season.

(Read | Mohammed Shami an automatic choice for Champions Trophy 2017: Sourav Ganguly)

* Ashish Nehra: The veteran still bowls at pace and will be effective in English conditions. He also figured in the 2016 World T20 event, but he is likely only as a back-up seamer.

Middle-order batsman/specialist spinner:

* Manish Pandey: Stands a good chance if selectors pick an extra batsman instead of an extra specialist spinner.

Other spinners in contention:

* Kuldeep Yadav: The left arm chinaman bowler is having a good IPL after a wonderful Test debut.

* Harbhajan Singh: His sheer experience, and ability to choke the run-flow, can work in his favour while he is also handy with the bat. But he is likely to come into reckoning only if Ashwin does not play.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Brad Hogg backs Kuldeep Yadav to make Indian cricket team)

* Yuzvendra Chahal: The leg-spinner has again been Royal Challengers Bangalore’s go-to bowler, and their leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps.

* Amit Mishra: The seasoned leggie has had an average IPL season, but his experience may get the selectors’ backing.

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