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World Cup 2019 team selection: Two spots up for grabs in Virat Kohli’s team

India’s World Cup squad will be announced on Monday and there is tremendous anticipation among fans, ex-cricketer and pundits about who will make the cut and who will miss the bus.

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2019 12:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of players of Indian cricket team celebrating after the fall of a wicket.
File image of players of Indian cricket team celebrating after the fall of a wicket.(AFP)
         

It’s that time again when the BCCI selectors will don their thinking hat and come up with a bunch which they think is worthy of winning the world. Yes, India’s World Cup squad will be announced on Monday and there is tremendous anticipation among fans, ex-cricketers and pundits about who will make the cut and who will miss the bus.

The job has been made easy by the fact that most of the players select themselves by the virtue of their strong performances over the past couple of years. So let’s take a look at who we think should be a part of India’s World Cup squad.

Also Read: ICC World Cup: India’s Predicted 15-member squad, Kohli has decisions to make

We start with King Kohli, the captain, who has taken batsmanship in 50-over format to another level. He has already led India to the final of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and would want to go one step ahead and win the Cup this time. He is of course the number 3 batsman.

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who forms one part of an impregnable partnership at the top of the order, will be a key member of the team. Shikhar Dhawan is the other half of the team’s prolific opening act and his record in 50-over ICC tournaments since 2013 is awe-inspiring. While Rohit has scored 1586 runs with an average of 58.74 since January 2018, Dhawan has slammed 1317 at an average of 43.9 in the same time frame.

The Number 4 slot has been hotly debated and a lot of people have been tried for the position. On current form and ability, KL Rahul should get the nod ahead of Ambati Rayudu. Rahaul’s case has been bolstered by him scoring tons of runs in the ongoing edition of the IPL, where he currently takes the second spot in the Orange Cap list (335 runs in 8 matches). Remember he can also be a back-up opener in case of an injury.

Also Read: World Cup 2019: Sourav Ganguly picks his Indian squad

The shepherd comes in at Number 5. MS Dhoni, the man who has seen and done it all has one last crack at glory and his return to form as a batsman is the biggest positive India is taking into the showpiece event. Like fine wine, Dhoni is getting better with age as he was named the man of the series in Australia earlier this year. The wicket-keeper-batsman has four fifties in eight ODIs this year.

Kedar Jadhav’s rescue acts in chases and ability to break partnerships with his part-time off spin has seen him zoom ahead in the race for place in the playing XI. 

Hardik Pandya is back from injury and his form with the bat looks red hot in the IPL. Will be expected to do the third or fourth seamer’s job in England. Could be the trump card for Kohli

Kuldeep Yadav will lead the spin department and his impressive performances in the last English summer holds the chinaman in good stead. Yuzvendra Chahal is the other half of India’s deadly spin-twins and if the summer is as hot as it was last year and the pitches as dry, expect this wizard to spin a web around batsmen.

Also Read: World Cup: Gautam Gambhir picks his Indian squad, makes surprise inclusions

Jasprit Bumrah is possibly the finest limited overs fast bowler India has ever seen. Currently at the peak of his abilities, Bumrah has the chances of guiding India to a Cup triumph, just like Zaheer Khan did in 2011. Bumrah will pose a big threat for the batsmen as since January 2018, he has scalped 29 wickets in 18 matches at an impressive economy rate of 4.07.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s impeccable discipline with the new ball ability to bat down the order makes him a key member of this squad. His partnership with Bumrah has already gives India an edge in the bowling department.

Mohammed Shami is experiencing a second wind in his white ball career and the seasoned campaigner could be crucial cog for India on wickets that will offer seam movement. This calendar year, Shami has scalped 19 wickets in 11 matches to make his case for a place in the WC squad.

Rishabh Pant is being widely tipped as the back-up wicket-keeper for Dhoni in this tournament and his big hitting ability means he could well make it to the playing XI just as a pure batsman, who will be assigned the finisher’s role.

Ravindra Jadeja leads Ravichandran Ashwin in the race for the third spinner’s slot. He has been playing regularly for India in ODIs for since the Asia Cup last year and his abilities as an all-rounder means Jaddu will be on that plane to England.

Also Read: Virender Sehwag picks his India squad for cricket world cup

That leaves one spot to be filled and we have three suggestions for it depending on what the team management is looking for. Ambati Rayudu could be the back-up middle order batsman. Vijay Shankar is the back-up all-rounder in reckoning. While Deepak Chahar could well be the surprise pick if the selectors go in for a fourth pacer for the squad.

Another player who has an outside chance of making it to the squad is left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed. The lanky paceman from Tonk in Rajasthan has 11 wickets to his name in his 8-match ODI career and last played for India in the series in New Zealand. Given the team management’s liking for a left-arm seamer, Khaleel could well be on that plane to add that extra dimension to the squad.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 00:00 IST

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