India’s squad for the ICC World Cup 2019 was announced on Monday and majority of the names included in the list of 15 are on expected lines. The management has gone in with a squad which has tried and tested players, who have been performing consistently for the team in the 50-over format.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar was expected to make the squad but to be seen as the choice for the number 4 slot came in as a huge surprise. The other hotly debated decision was the exclusion of the dynamic wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant as Dinesh Karthik was chosen as the back-up wicket-keeper in the squad.
With little over a month to go for the big tournament to begin, let’s take a look at the form guide of the players since January 2018.
The Indian captain has left records and comparisons behind to emerge as one of the greatest run-getters in the history of ODI cricket. Kohli went past the 10,000-run mark in ODI cricket last year and is the fastest to the landmark by a mile. The consistency at which he scores centuries in 50-over cricket is another aspect of his game which has stood out since 2016. Kohli is a player who believes in momentum and good form with the bat rubs off on his captaincy skills as well. India would hope that their talisman hits top gear early in the tournament.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 25, Runs: 1813, Average: 90.65, 50/100: 4/9
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The India vice-captain has been the team’s second most prolific run-getter in ODIs since January 2018 and is a force to reckon with at the top of the order. Rohit’s ability to bat deep and get big hundreds has been a hallmark of his meteoric rise as a top order batsman in the 50-over format. One aspect of the game that Rohit needs to work on is closing out games when chasing, something he can take a leaf out of the book of his skipper.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 32, Runs: 1586, Average: 58.74, 50/100: 7/6
The southpaw has been a pivotal figure in India’s campaign in ICC tournaments since 2013 and an in-form Dhawan will be a handful for opposition bowlers. His record in England in white-ball cricket raises hopes of another tournament full of runs. What he needs to focus on is a bit of consistency and Dhawan could well be a game-changer for the team.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 32, Runs: 1317, Average: 43.90, 50/100: 4/4
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Picked in the squad as a back-up opener first and middle order option later, KL Rahul is a batsman who oozes talent and class. Unfortunately though he has not been able to make the most of opportunities in international cricket in the 50-over format. Picked up ahead of the Ambati Rayudu, who have a superior record in ODIs, Rahul will look to take his impeccable IPL form into the big tournament and prove his detractors wrong if given an opportunity.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 4, Runs: 95, Average: 31.66, 50/100: 1/0
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has turned the clock back as a batsman this year and that is the biggest positive India is taking into the tournament. For some years now, Dhoni’s inability to play the big strokes from the word go was causing problems for the team in the slog overs but the former captain has now thrown caution to the winds and is striking it neat and far like the good ol’ days. Another aspect where Dhoni has regained his consistency is finishing off chases. Add to that his electric wicket-keeping skills and leadership ability in crunch games, and you have a complete package that captain Kohli can safely rely on.
Since Jan 2018 – Innings: 21, Runs: 602, Average: 40.13, 50/100: 4/0
After making a stupendous comeback to India colours in the T20 format, Dinesh Karthik found a steady role in the side through last year as a dependable middle order bat. But the team management’s preference for Rishabh Pant closer to the tournament meant expectations of making it to the squad were low. But the seasoned campaigner was chosen because of his wicket-keeping skills and a role in the playing XI as a specialist batsman isn’t a likely possibility.
Since Jan 2018 – Innings: 10, Runs: 242, Average: 40.33, 50/100: 0/0
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The pocket-dynamite from Maharashtra has been a match-winner with the bat and ball. Kedar Jadhav’s ability to guide the team home in difficult chases makes him an invaluable player in the middle order. He though is not ideal for the finisher’s role when batting first and that is a responsibility which needs to be shared by someone else. As a part-time bowler, Jadhav has a knack of picking up wickets of top-order batsmen and that is a huge plus for skipper Kohli, who can rely on the off-spinner to come in and change the course of the game.
Since Jan 2018 – Innings: 10, Runs: 377, Average: 47.12, Wickets: 11, Econ: 5.11
Hardik Pandya has not had a great time since last year, as he was first sidelined due to an injury and then got involved in a controversy (Koffee with Karan), which led to him being out of the Indian team for a while. Pandya though is back with a bang in the IPL and his form with the bat is encouraging as India needs a player who can go hammer and tongs from ball one. Could be a match-winner if he keeps a cool head.
Since Jan 2018 – Innings: 13, Runs: 129, Average: 18.42, Wickets: 9, Econ: 5.48
The man who made all the headlines after the squad for the World Cup was announced. Vijay Shankar’s reputation as a batsman has grown over the past year but he still remains untested in international cricket. To see him as a number 4 choice was a bold statement by chief selector MSK Prasad. It will be interesting to see how Shankar is used by captain Kohli and the team management.
Since Jan 2018 – Innings: 9, Runs: 165, Average: 33, Wickets: 2, Econ: 5.61
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His rise in international cricket has coincided with the fall from the perch of Ravichandran Ashwin in white-ball cricket. Kuldeep Yadav’s variations and ability to pick wickets has given India an edge in the 50-over format and the chinaman will be expected to deliver the goods in the World Cup. Hehas been the most prolific wicket taker in ODIs over the past 2 years and is an important member of Virat Kohli’s army. If conditions are hot and dry, then expect Kuldeep to spin a web around opposition batsmen.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 30, Wickets: 65, Average: 20.72, Econ: 4.96, BB: 6/25
The leg spinner has often lost out to Kuldeep whenever Virat Kohli had to pick one over the other but Chahal is a wily customer and his ability to keep a lid on runs when not picking wickets often results in a breakthrough from the other end. Chahal too has been among wickets and scores over Kuldeep when it comes to keeping batsmen quiet.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 24, Wickets: 45, Average: 24.33, Econ: 5.04, BB: 6/42
Just like Ravichandran Ashwin, many though Ravindra Jadeja’s chances of making it to the World Cup team were all but over, until he was brought back into the ODI set-up during the Asia Cup. Jadeja made an immediate impact as he not only picked wickets but also managed to keep the batsmen quiet. Add to it his fabulous fielding skills and ability to bat lower down the order and Jaddu is a package tailor-made for white ball cricket. Not the first choice in the playing XI but could make an impact if and when played.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 15, Runs: 121, Average: 17.28, Wickets: 19, Econ: 4.75
India’s pace spearhead over the last two years across all formats, Jasprit Bumrah will be Virat Kohli’s X-factor in the World Cup. Bumrah, who has developed a wide repertoire of variations, will hold the key on placid pitches in England, both with the new and old ball. Kohli can also use him in the middle phase of the innings and Bumrah, over the last two years, has emerged as a bank for the Indian team. The number 1 bowler in ODI cricket, Bumrah has picked up 29 runs in 19 matches since 2018 at a frugal economy rate of 4.07. Can he do what a certain Zaheer Khan did for the Indian side back in 2011?
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 18, Wickets: 29, Average: 21.03, Econ: 4.07, BB: 4/35
If Bumrah has the pace and variations, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has accuracy and a relentless ability to keep pegging away outside that off stump. Also, if conditions do favour him, he can the ball to hoop around, which is a great bonus to have in ODI cricket, when the odds are stacked heavily in favour of the batsmen.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 24, Wickets: 30, Average: 32.06, Econ: 5.28, BB: 4/45
The biggest positive for the Indian side after the Australia Test series has been the form of Mohammed Shami in white ball cricket. Fast, accurate and decisive, Shami’s form is a massive shot in the arm for Virat Kohli. Also, his ability to nail Yorkers in the death overs will be a great addition to the Indian arsenal at the World Cup.
Since Jan 2018 – Matches: 13, Wickets: 22, Average: 29.18, Econ: 5.45, BB: 3/19
Apr 17, 2019 16:01 IST