Terrific top-order the highlight as we look at the strengths and weakness(es) of Team India for World Cup 2019.
In the heat of an intense IPL 2019, BCCI announced India’s squad for World Cup 2019 on 15th April 2019. The entire discussion has been around those 3 important decisions, which the team management had to take.
- Dinesh Karthik or Rishabh Pant as the backup wicket-keeper?
- Who would be the backup opener/ middle-order player?
- Who would be the backup all-rounder?
While Team India selected the best possible 15 out of the probable 17, the exclusions of Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant did raise some eyebrows.
Anyway, Team India have selected their best 15, and now it is our turn to analyze the biggest strengths and weaknesses of Team India for World Cup 2019.
Team India’s Squad for World Cup 2019:
Openers: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul
Middle-order: Virat Kohli(C), MS Dhoni(Wk) and Dinesh Karthik
All-rounders: Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja.
Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal,
Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
#1: Brilliant Top 3
It would not come as a surprise to say that in the form of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, Team India have the best top 3 among all the teams.
In the last 4 years, the trio of Rohit, Shikhar and Kohli has scored a total of 10944 runs from 207 innings at an amazing average of 60.8 and a superb strike rate of 97.04. In the process, they have smashed a total of 42 hundreds and 47 fifties.
The second best top 3 in the same period is of Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Joe Root of England. They have scored a total of 8178 runs from 198 innings at an average of 45.68 and a strike rate of 97.91. The trio has smashed a total of 23 centuries and 47 fifties.
It is conclusive from the stats alone that Team India’s top 3 is the best top 3 in the world currently, and it is Team India’s best strength going into the World Cup 2019.
#2: The Spin Twins
I believe everyone would agree to the fact that Wrist spinners are probably the most lethal type of bowlers in limited-overs cricket currently.
While every team has only 1 good wrist spinner in charge, Team India are fortunate to have a pair of spin twins.
England have only Adil Rashid, New Zealand have Mitchell Santner, Australia have Adam Zampa, South Africa have Imran Tahir, while India have a pair of spin twin in the form of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal (KulCha).
The pair have been doing really well in the last two years. Together they have taken a total of 153 wickets from 79 innings at an average of 23.44 and an economy rate of 4.97. This is the most any spin pair has taken in the last two years.
Considering Wrist spin would play a vital role in the World Cup, the role of these two would be very important if India have to win the tournament.
#1: Fragile Middle-order
Even after trying as many as 12 combinations for the number 4 position since 2017, India still do not have a fixed player for the number position.
Until the Australia series, it looked as if Ambati Rayudu has made a strong case for the number 4 spot, and in all likelihood, the number 4 spot looked sealed. However, the rise of the ‘3-dimensional’ player, Vijay Shankar and the poor form of Ambati Rayudu meant Rayudu was sacked from the squad.
Currently, as explained by MS Prasad, Vijay Shankar is most likely to play at number; at least initially and Dinesh Karthik shall play the role of a backup wicket-keeper cum finisher.
While Vijay Shankar is a good option at number 4 as he possesses a strong technique with good acceleration ability, his inexperience and his poor form in IPL 2019 is slightly worrying.
MS Dhoni looks best to play at number 5 followed by Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya. Both, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya have been in excellent form in IPL 2019, and that is a good sign. However, the form of Kedar Jadhav is another area of concern.
Looking at the middle-order as a whole, it looks slightly shallow. Also, based on historical performances, in case the top 3 fail together, the confidence that India’s middle-order shall cope up with any challenge is still missing.
Apart from the strengths and weaknesses mentioned above, the following positive things also deserve a special mention.
- Presence of Jasprit Bumrah, the best death overs bowler in the world currently
- One of the best fielders in the form of Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
- A quality finisher in the form of Hardik Pandya.
Team India have a superb top 3 and the best spin twin combo, while the middle-order looks fragile. However, Team India still have a brilliant squad that can definitely help them lift their third World Cup title.
Key Players for India: I believe, every player has an important role to play. However, the form of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Jasprit Bumrah would be very crucial for Team India.
The strongest Playing XI for Spin/Pace friendly wickets for Team India for World Cup 2019 is as follows
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (Wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal/Mohammed Shami.
Thanks for reading! What according to you are Team India strengths for World Cup 2019? Please, let’s know in the comments.