The Mohali ODI between India and Australia is very important for three reasons. Firstly, it is the second last match for India before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which will be played in England from May 30. Secondly, this match, in addition to the final ODI which will be played in Delhi on March 13 gives Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team the last chance to finalise their team composition for the marquee event. Thirdly, with the series still open, a win for India will enhance their confidence heading into the tournament, Two hours prior to the start of the match, there was a massive influx of fans waiting to get into the stadium from Gate 12 and Gate 2 at the stadium. Many were sporting jerseys of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Some were disappointed that Dhoni is not playing. Others were busy taking photos with Sudhir, who is the superfan of the Indian cricket team and Ram Babu, who is the MS Dhoni superfan. However, the major buzz was that KL Rahul was going to get a game as Ambati Rayudu was not in form.
“KL Rahul toh apna munda hain. Who aaj khelega (KL Rahul is our boy. He will play today),” shouted the fans in unison. Rahul is now part of the Kings XI Punjab franchise and he has made some vital contributions to the team. Virat However, the crowd were aware that the World Cup is just around the corner and they were all debating about what the team composition should be.
One youngster echoed the sentiments of many of the fans who were trying to get into the stadium. When asked whether there were any weak links in the side, he replied, “No, there are no weak links. This is the squad that Kohli should take for the World Cup in England.” When asked whether players like Shreyas Iyer should be tried out, one of the fans replied, “No, this combination is looking settled. Whoever is in the side now must get a chance for the World Cup,” one older fan said.
However, in Punjab, Yuvraj Singh is considered to be the ultimate cricketer. There are still some die-hard cricket fans who would want to see Yuvraj display his match-winning skills in an ICC event just like he did in the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup. However, the fans present at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium had a different take.
When asked whether Yuvraj Singh should be included in the side, they all shouted, “NO”. “Yuvraj Singh is a great player but in this side, all are exceptionally good. There is no chance for Yuvraj. Where will he slot?”, said one of the fans who rushed off for a security check.
The Mohali crowd have displayed no sentiment. They just want the right team which can get the cup back to the country. The Mohali crowd are emphatic, Virat Kohli’s current side IS the best for the World Cup.