It is every Indian’s dream to see their country lift the world cup every time they participate. The next 50-over World cup is in India, and fans would be hoping to repeat the 2011 World Cup campaign. The India selectors are set to announce their ODI squad for the next series against Sri Lanka, hinting towards what kind of squad they are looking at for the mega event in under two years. Here’s what we predict.
1) Rohit Sharma (Vice-Captain)
Rohit Sharma is the current vice captain of the Indian cricket team, and will be set to open the innings for his country just like he has been doing for the best part of his career. There is absolutely no way that the Indian selectors or the Indian management would look for a different opener in place of Sharma. He has been the critical component of India’s winning formula over the years. He had a stellar World Cup campaign, scoring five centuries across nine games, and became the first player to hit five centuries in a single World Cup campaign.
2) KL Rahul
The second opener’s spot is a bit tricky, but we have gone with KL Rahul. He is a player you can’t keep out of the team. With regular opener Shikhar Dhawan having a torrid time in the middle in the last ODI series and even getting dropped from the T20I, the squad is slightly hinting that the Indian selectors are ready to part ways with Dhawan. This leaves the door open for a few candidates, and the best one for that role is KL Rahul. In challenging conditions, he can play till the end of the innings and anchor it so that India reaches a respectable total. Since Sharma is known for hitting the bowlers out of the park, KL Rahul can provide stability and ensure that when the next wicket falls, someone is there to take charge forward.
3) Virat Kohli (Captain)
The complete batsman in the world of cricket as of this moment. It is destined for him to lift the world cup in front of a packed crowd in India. He has already raised the World Cup once in 2011, but would want to do so again, but this time as a country captain. He provides much-needed stability to the middle-order. He can take the pressure on himself and give it back to the bowlers in his style and relieve the stress from his team and his batting partner. He can play at number four, but the spot where he has scored the most runs will be the spot where he will bat.
4) Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer has finally been the solution to India’s number four troubles. India could not find a perfect batter for that spot and struggled to replace Yuvraj Singh/Suresh Raina, who tend to play at that spot. Finally, after the 2019 World Cup, India has started to back Shreyas Iyer for that role. He has answered that call very well, hitting centuries, and being part of critical match-winning partnerships for his country. India being so reliant on their top order makes the number four spot a little iffy, which means that they will most likely get to play the last few overs of the innings and hit to ensure India reaches a good total. Iyer can do that, and has shown that over the years for India as well as Delhi Capitals.
5) Rishabh Pant
India has finally found their long-term successor to the legend MS Dhoni. Rishabh Pant was always known as a person who has much potential, but is not utilising it correctly. He has improved his game a lot, and would be willing to take risks no matter what the situation is to ensure that his side is winning at the end of the game. As a batsman, we all know his onslaughts against the mightiest bowlers in the world. He has already delivered match-winning and series-defining innings against England and Australia. If he gets going and is in his element, it is always difficult to stop him. His keeping ability is debatable, but if he is getting results with it, it shouldn’t be a big problem.
6) Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya is the pace all-rounder that India has desired for quite some time now. He has shown what he can do as a finisher when coming down at this spot to bat. He is known for taking the ball to parts of the ground that are inaccessible. The main question for him to answer is that he will bowl a minimum of five to six overs in every game if required by the team. He has been suffering from a back injury, which has kept him away from bowling for quite some time. But India would love to see him bowl a fair few overs if his services are required.
7) Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja is the three-dimensional player of this team. He can bat, he can bowl, and he can field like no one ever can. After the 2017 Champions Trophy, it looked like it was the end of the road for Jadeja as a player, but his revival was terrific. He is the best fielder India currently has, and his eye for run-outs is simply magnificent. He has added finishing the games to his skill set and looking to do so at the backend of the innings. He is the off-spinner you rely on to be economical and get wickets at the same time.
8) Shardul Thakur
A new name on the Indian side is Shardul Thakur, who has developed a knack for picking wickets at the right stage of the innings and can provide breakthroughs for his team at the right juncture. He has added batting to his already vast repertoire of skills and can be handy if India faces a batting collapse of any sort. His knuckle and slower balls in the death overs will be convenient to reduce the run-rate and get wickets of key players at critical moments of the game.
9) Yuzvendra Chahal
The chess master of the Indian cricket team, he has undoubtedly won the debate between him and Kuldeep Yadav. Chahal has performed significantly over the past couple of years and would be looking to continue his excellent string of performances heading to his second fifty-over World Cup. He has a brilliant ability to make a comeback against a batsman who tries to get the better of him, and he tries to bowl him different variations to confuse him and get his wicket. Such abilities are required as a bowler when you have a bad day in the field and look to make a strong comeback statement.
10) Jasprit Bumrah
Not even a single person in the country would think that Jasprit Bumrah should not start for the Indian team in the next World Cup. He has undoubtedly made everyone love his unique bowling action. It is with this impressive action that he tends to get many wickets. He bowls in three spells in the ODIs and has a knack of not giving away runs at any stage and getting the wickets of their key players. Such a player is invaluable to the team, and his yorkers during the death overs will be his most lethal asset.
11) Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Many people will fight for the last fast-bowling spot in the line-up, but you wouldn’t look to go beyond Bhuvneshwar Kumar if the tournament is held in India. He, along with Bumrah, has formed a lethal bowling partnership, which tends to keep the batsmen in check and reduce the pressure from other bowlers. The Indian team always relies on him to get the wickets in the early part of the innings through the swing he gets with the new ball, and since dew will be a primary factor during the innings, his death bowling would be something that India would dwell upon when required.
Considering the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, ICC might allow 23 player squads for the World Cup, so the players who didn’t make the team but have a chance of being in the team are mentioned below.
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Sanju Samson
- Prithvi Shaw
- Washington Sundar
- Krunal Pandya
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Mohammad Shami
- T Natarajan
- Rahul Chahar
- Prasidh Krishna
- Shubhman Gill