The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is less than 50 days away. All the squads have to be announced before April 23, according to the International Cricket Council rules. The major focus will be on the India squad that will be selected on April 15 at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. After months of combinations, tours to Australia, New Zealand and an ODI series against the five-time champions in India, the opportunity to select the 15 players who will aim to give India glory in the World Cup in England will end in four days. With all of India’s probable 15 busy in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League, the players have one final opportunity to seal their ticket to England and hope to give the country glory for the first time since 2011.
News Nation is presenting its version of who should the 15 players be for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England. The sample and record are based on the performance of the side from the series in England till the end of the April 11 game in the Indian Premier League. The reason for choosing England as the starting point is that the World Cup will be held in the country after 20 years while even the IPL will be considered as form and confidence can spread to all formats. Based on all the performances of the players, here is News Nation’s 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Top three: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
These three names select themselves in any squad. Dhawan and Rohit are the most prolific opening pair in ODI history behind Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. Dhawan and Rohit raise their game in major ICC tournaments, with Dhawan, in particular, being the man for ICC tournaments. Rohit is one of the best ODI players in the world. As far as Virat Kohli is concerned, the name speaks for itself. He became the fastest to 10,000 and has scored over 40 ODI tons. As captain, Kohli’s batting will be the key to India’s success.
No.4: KL Rahul
He has scores of 71*,15, 55, 71* and 100* in the last five games for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing IPL. On current form, you simply cannot ignore his selection. Rahul has been a victim of constant chopping and changing under Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri’s regime and he has rediscovered his form. His style of attack and defence makes him a valuable asset at No.4. Ambati Rayudu was designated as the No.4 by Kohli and Shastri six months ago but his inconsistency, combined with a poor IPL 2019 for Chennai Super Kings has made Rahul the favourite to seal the No.4 spot.
Lower middle-order: Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav
Hardik Pandya missed out on the series in Australia due to disciplinary issues and also missed the home games against the same opponents due to injury. When he was in New Zealand, Dhawan emphasised the balance that Pandya provided in both bowling and batting. With the bat, Pandya has been brilliant in aggressively finishing the innings off while with the ball, he provides superb support to the bowling department. MS Dhoni is the pivot around which the entire lower middle order functions. He can bat till the end and once it comes to the death overs, Dhoni’s ability to drag the team over the finish line is legendary. Kedar Jadhav is not only a partnership breaker but is also a handy bat who can stitch partnerships with the lower order.
A plethora of all-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja
The Saurashtra all-rounder did not get much of a chance in Australia, New Zealand and only played in a couple of ODIs in the series in Australia. His form with both bat and ball in IPL 2019 has been patchy. However, when it comes to ICC experience and England, one cannot ignore Jadeja. His finest moment as a cricketer came in 2013 in the Champions Trophy when he took the highest amount of wickets. In England, he has 27 wickets at an average of 27 while with the bat, he averages close to 70. Ignoring Jadeja could be a fatal mistake for a side that wants depth in both batting and bowling.
Bowlers: Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
In all of India’s success in Australia and New Zealand, the bowlers played a massive part in the victory in Tests and ODIs. Bumrah is the No.1 bowler in the world and he has consistently shown his class in the last year across formats. He will be India’s strike bowler. Mohammed Shami has shown his ability in IPL 2019 and was India’s stand-out bowler in the powerplay and in the death overs in Australia and New Zealand. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the leg-spinning duo, can take wickets in any conditions. Depending upon the conditions, either Kuldeep or Chahal must be a certainty in the playing XI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is currently lacking rhythm in IPL 2019 but he has shown steady improvement. His ability to swing the ball in England, where conditions do aid swing, could prove to be vital.
Back-ups: Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar
During Hardik Pandya’s absence, Vijay Shankar has stepped up and demonstrated wonderful ability with both bat and ball, as witnessed in the series in New Zealand. If Pandya has some fitness issues, then Shankar can step up and fill the void. Rishabh Pant has dazzled the world with his attacking and innovative strokeplay. His confidence and ability to turn the course of the match makes him favourite as the back-up keeper for Dhoni in the World Cup. However, there are plenty of question marks over his keeping and his ability to handle pressure, as witnessed in the Mohali ODI against Australia.
Players to miss out
Ambati Rayudu was talked about as India’s No.4 but his declining returns, punctuated by only one fifty in the fifth ODI in Wellington might prompt the selectors to have a rethink. The most unlucky cricketer who is missing out is Dinesh Karthik, who was not picked in the side for either the Australia series (home and away) or New Zealand. With so much ICC experience and currently employing the leadership duties of Kolkata Knight Riders, it will take a supreme effort from him to displace Pant as the back-up keeper.
News Nation’s Probable 15 for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar