Rohit Sharma will lead the home team for the premier cricketing tournament as India plays their first game on the 8th of October against 5-time champions Australia.
With the World Cup being played in all regions of the massive countries with varying conditions, this World Cup will test the ability of the entire squad as teams will need to make changes throughout as the conditions change.
India starts with their best 5 batsmen up top who have the experience and have accumulated runs throughout forming the backbone of the team. World number 2, Shubman Gill is in splendid form and has been scoring a bulk of the team’s runs at a healthy strike rate. With him is Captain Rohit Sharma who has worked on his game and has come out with all guns blazing in the powerplay. Iyer and Rahul, despite facing injuries before the tournament, have scored runs that should secure their spots at 4 and 5 respectively. Shreyas Iyer’s ability to shift gears is second to none and has shown impressive numbers against both spin and pace making him the perfect batsman at number 4 as the team’s run accumulator. KL has been India’s best ODI batsman rescuing the team from tough positions and stepping on the gas when needed. A player of his ability and composure gives the top 4 the freedom to take risks and ensure that the finishers have a platform set to finish the game.
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja have cemented their places in the team by consistently performing their roles and the lack of replacements. With no direct replacements in the squad, the management will vary how these players are used but the main problem lies in the role for the team. Hardik is no longer the swashbuckling hard hitter but has instead turned into an anchor up the order as he moved himself up the order for his IPL team while Jadeja has been unable to play the finisher role and start the onslaught from ball 1. With the top 5 fixed and none of these batsmen playing their role as finishers in the build-up to the World Cup, we might not see the aggressive brand of cricket that the captain-coach duo insist on.
India has been using 4 bowlers with the last 10 over quota being filled by the all-rounders. Mohammed Siraj has been lethal in the powerplay and his knack of picking wickets upfront will put India ahead in games. Relentless in his plan, Siraj will be paired with perhaps the most skilled bowler of this decade, Bumrah.
The bowlers seem to work well in tandem and Bumrah’s versatility gives India the perfect balance required to be aggressive in their approach in the powerplay and tools to close the innings without a lot of damage being inflicted in the final 10.
Kuldeep Yadav’s resurgence as a white ball bowler means that he will lead India’s spin attack this World Cup but without his spin partner Yuzevendra Chahal.
Having worked on his bowling, Kuldeep continues to be threatening with his left-arm angle and with the new ability to change the flight he gives the ball he becomes the team’s main wicket-taking option. With turning pitches being found in plenty and the opposition having X-factor players such as Klassen and Maxwell who have the ability to take apart an opposition in the middle overs. Kuldeep will provide India with the required stability to both maintain a low economy rate and dismantle the opposition’s batting.
Shami and Thakur will be fighting for the final spot with the management leaning towards Shardul as the 3rd option. Shardul’s batting utility paired with his variations makes him a better option as a 3rd pacer. With Bumrah and Siraj both being part of the XI, Shami’s primary skill set in seaming the ball up front and closing it out in the death will overlap with the role that the frontline pacers have while Shardul with his variations and wicket-taking ability will complement the spinners and offer a good variation for the captain to use.
- Rohit Sharma (c)
- Shubhman Gill
- Virat Kohli
- Shreyas Iyer
- KL Rahul (wk)
- Hardik Pandya
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Shardul Thakur
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Mohd. Siraj
- Kuldeep Yadav
Backups: Suryakumar Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishan Kishan (wk)
Ishan Kishan with his Asia Cup against Pakistan secured his spot as the first-choice backup in case Rahul is unable to keep. Kishan helps the team both as a backup wicketkeeper in the middle order and as an opener which is his preferred position.
Ashwin making his way ahead of Axar Patel significantly reduces the quality of the team.
Axar as a player has superior skills as a bowler with the white ball, which Ashwin could emulate with his variations but India lost out on a capable all-rounder. Axar not only gave India another all-rounder in their XI, he could be slotted in at number 4 which would allow India to play SKY as a finisher at 8.
Suryakumar Yadav hasn’t cracked the ODI format but his T20 exploits helped him secure a spot in the squad. Far from the ideal batsman, Surya will come in as a specialist finisher in place of Kuldeep/Shardul if India is comfortable with 5 bowling options.
With the team composition, Virat Kohli will have to perform if India wants to win the World Cup. A softer ball and the floodlights on have proven to make batting difficult for the opposition and with teams packing their XIs with game-changers, we will see an awful lot of scores well above the 300 mark. With India lacking good finishers and the batting conditions getting harder as the game progresses, Kohli will need to play big knocks and pace his game effectively.
Lately, we have seen him struggle to maintain a good strike rate against the spinners which is a problem he will need to rectify. Ever since his Asia Cup hundred against Afghanistan, Kohli has been able to finish the games with shots and power he hasn’t shown before in his career.
India will play all of their games in different venues and will have the pressure of the home crowd to end their title drought.
Rohit and Dravid have built up a team that has been tested in different conditions and have the numbers to back their inclusion in the team. Despite shifting continents between world cups, the role of openers has always been vital.
India will start as favourites for the tournament and a lot of the hopes of the team will depend on how well Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will play, who could essentially be playing their last World Cup