New Delhi, Sept 5 (PTI) Entering the ODI World Cup as hosts, India will strive to repeat the magical performance of the 2011 edition when the side lifted the trophy under charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The selectors, led by Ajit Agarakar, announced the squad on expected lines. There were no surprise as a largely balanced squad has been picked.
PTI takes a look at the 15-man squad:
Twelve years back, Rohit Sharma was at the lowest ebb of his career after missing out on a World Cup berth and three editions later, he would be the ‘Master of India’s fate’.
He has six World Cup hundreds and wouldn’t mind adding a few more but he can trade all that for the Gold plated trophy. That would be his lasting legacy in Indian cricket pantheons.
Just after the 2011 World Cup triumph, a young Kohli in a tribute to Sachin Tendulkar had spoken how the maestro carried the team for 21 years and it was their duty to carry him on their shoulders after triumph.
At nearly 35 and a decade at the top, ‘King Kohli’ wouldn’t mind a second ICC trophy, an achievement that eluded him as captain. He has 46 hundreds and four more would get him past his idol Tendulkar.
Expectations will be high from the 23-year-old who has had an exceptional last 12 months across formats. He will need to fill the big shoes Shikhar Dhawan, who has arguably been India’s stand out batter in ICC events over the past decade.
Gill has the makings of becoming a great of the game and consistent performances on the biggest stage will put him on that path.
There was little doubt over his selection in the final 15 but his 82 against Pakistan under extreme pressure has made the team management’s task to choose between him and K L Rahul much tougher.
In the limited opportunities he has got, Kishan has delivered both at the top of the order and in the middle order. The batting line-up is full of right-handers and Kishan’s inclusion in the playing eleven will bring about a welcome change.
SKY, as he is fondly called by his teammates, made an immediate impression in international cricket with his brute power, innovative shots and 360 degree strokeplay. His international debut came as late as 2021 at the age of 30 and has amassed 1841 runs in T20 cricket at a healthy average of 46.02.
But it is his form in ODI cricket which is a matter of concern. He has not been able to carry his T20 dominance to the 50-over game.
Focus will firmly be on Rahul given his lack of game time. Spending months away from competitive cricket he maybe a little rusty. The fact that he has not performed consistently in the opportunities he has had, the team management would be tempted to give in-form Ishan Kishan a go.
However, Rahul’s technique and application have impressed even the staunchest of critics. Additionally he has brilliant record at No 5.
The man for all seasons, Jadeja manages to contribute whether it is through his accurate and economical bowling, his batting or his spectacular fielding. His fighting partnership with MS Dhoni had kept India in the hunt in the 2019 semifinal.
A sure-shot selection in the playing XI, the southpaw will shoulder the spin duties with Kuldeep Yadav and will also give the management the option of keeping the left-hand-right hand combination going if needed.
Iyer will be tasked with perhaps the most important and talked-about roles in Indian cricket — batting at number. Add to that lack of game time, the pressure will be high on the Mumbai batter.
The 28-year-old has been a consistent performer, batting at number 4. His decisive footwork helps him dominate against spin bowling.
India do not possess the best of bowling attacks in the competition, making Bumrah’s role even more critical. Having made a promising comeback from a back surgery, the 29-year-old will shoulder the pace attack in India and will be hugely relied upon for wickets with the new ball and in the death overs.
If India are unable to find wickets or stem the flow of runs in the middle, Rohit Sharma is likely to turn to Bumrah.
Just like Rohit and Kohli, the ‘Amroha Express’ will also be playing his third and last World Cup. When it comes to skillsets, he is peerless in this Indian set up but if Asia Cup is any indication, he will be missing out as the team management is looking at more batting depth on belters.
He might only come in if one among Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur gets injured. But against better batting attacks which can only be dismantled by pure skills, Shami is still light-years ahead of someone like Thakur.
He is another player in the squad who has grown by leaps and bounds in the past one year. In the absence of Shami and Bumrah, he was the leader of the pace attack in the recent Test tour of Caribbean and revelled in the role.
The way he uses the scrambled seam has been the hallmark of his bowling. His ability to generate swing with the new ball also makes him a threat for any opposition. However, question marks remain over his death overs abilities.
The 29-year-old has had a bright start to his ODI career, collecting 46 wickets in 26 games at a stellar average of 20.69.
It was far from a smooth sailing for Kuldeep to secure a World Cup berth as till last year he was struggling to break into the playing XI.
But the son of a brick kiln owner, who started as a fast bowler and played cricket just for fun, didn’t give up and produced impactful performances in Sri Lanka’s tour of India and in the West Indies recently to make a case for himself.
All-rounders are always a premium in limited-overs cricket and Axar has established himself in that elite category. He is a hard-hitting left-handed batter who can change the complexion of a match on his day. A shrewd tactician with the ball in hand, the lanky spinner’s slow left-arm orthodox deliveries will be more than handy in Indian conditions.
The bowling all-rounder from Mumbai earned a sobriquet of ‘Palghar Express’ but Thakur is more of an honest medium pacer who has this happy knack of breaking partnerships.
Thakur can swing the ball both ways when the conditions are in his favour. But the pacer can also hit that hard lengths and has a wicked bouncer that can catch the batsmen napping.
He brings in the important balance to the team while often batting at No. 8 in ODIs, and has also improved his fielding abilities through a renewed focus on fitness.