The lead upto World Cup 2019

Over the last 4 years, since India's exit from the semi final in 2015 world cup, India has made slow, steady but firm strides to increase their chances of having a shot at World Cup 2019.

It is evident by the schedule, as they have slated more foreign soil tours as the World cup is going to be held in England. 

Many players who were considered pivotal for 2019 world cup at the end of 2015 world cup have faded away, players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja, Suresh Raina, etc have gone off the reckoning. 

A new crop of players emerged for the contention of the playing XI for the prestigious World Cup Title.

Let us see the key players whose performances will be crucial for India quest of a record 3rd title. (1983(Kapil Dev) & 2011(M.S Dhoni) - Previous Wins)

 

#1. Virat Kohli

There is no better player than Virat Kohli to guide India to world cup victory. With Rohit as an able vice Captain and the vast experience of M.S Dhoni, Virat has the comfort and luxury of being in the midst of the best minds. 

Dhoni and Rohit provide the calmness to an otherwise aggressive nature of Virat, thus providing the right amount of poise and aggression for India.

With the form Kohli has been in England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, one would be wary of him in the world cup. Wide outside the off stump ploy may be adopted for him which has been his past weakness to chase away from the body and give a catch behind the wickets.

However, Virat forms the mainstay of the batting line up. His good form overseas makes him the most valuable player in the Eleven. If he perishes early, it will be a big blow to India’s winning a game, especially while chasing.

It is very important for Virat to fire in England as the top order is not so good in foreign conditions with the moving ball. He is the technically best equipped batsman, with Dhawan and Rohit mostly known for batting well in sub continent pitches.

Though Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav and Dhoni are fruitful and effective players in the middle order, it is important that Virat carries his bat so that the required total is achieved in case of first innings, and it becomes more important that Virat carries his bat, if India chases, as that will more often mean India’s victory.

The Numero Uno Batsman would like to stamp his authority once again in England, but this time to win the World Cup for his team.

 

2. Kedar Jadhav

It is very surprising that Kedar Jadhav becomes an important player more because of his bowling ability than his batting, which is his main strength. India missed a partnership breaker after 2015, with Yuvraj out of reckoning due to his age and form.

Kedar came into that role with his own peculiar and malinga like angles, and provided India with that partnership breaking bowler in ODI's, which is very important on a stage like World Cup. If the 2 wrist spinners that India employ fail to provide the breakthrough in middle overs, Kedar could roll his arm over to bring that crucial scalp.

He boosts the balance of the lineup, by providing middle order stability in batting and flexibility in options in bowling. He is an economical bowler who can be used to contain runs and pick important wickets.

In the matches that Kedar played in the last 6 months, Kedar batted well in 2 crucial match situations, one in Australia and another in India, alongside Dhoni to take India home. This augurs well for team India, which is looking for a balanced middle order, in case of a top order stutter, especially during the knockout stages. Kedar has done well to bat maturely along with Dhoni in chases which brings relief to the Indian fans which looked only at Kohli, while chasing during the past couple of years. 

However, Kedar still has to bat well in case of chasing above 300 total which is untested till now. Kedar provides the much needed crucial middle order balance for India.

3. Vijay Shankar

For a person of Vijay Shankar’s calibre, it did not take long for him to come into reckoning in the World cup side. Though he started off rusty, in the crucial final of Nidahas Trophy by playing dots in the crucial 19th over, India went over the line due to Dinesh Karthik heroics.

However, he soon rectified his match pressure situation performance by providing technically sound batting and economical bowling whenever he got a chance after the event of Nidahas. In the match against Australia in 2nd ODI, he proved that he had in him to play at the key moments of the match and bring the desired result by snapping 2 wickets in final over of the match and making India win. Picking up Marcus Stoinis with his first delivery and knocking over Zampa with a perfect yorker shows the maturity he has undergone over the matches.

Vijay Shankar also oozed class and technical efficiency in batting in that match before getting out unfortunately. Vijay Shankar will play a pivotal role in the middle order and he must get chances in the upper middle order.

Since his technique is very stable and for such a talented batter, he must ideally be played at no. 4 or 5 in batting. If we see the lineup, Kohli is in at 3 and since Dhoni requires some time to adjust, he should play at 4 and Vijay should come at 5. While chasing big totals, Vijay can come at 4 as he can provide that solid start and free flowing runs which Dhoni may not provide in a high scoring chase.

4. Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya makes his case as an all rounder with his pace bowling and big hitting in the lower order. I personally feel Pandya still has to improve in terms of consistency with his bowling, though he has provided some match winning spells at times.

Pandya and Vijay Shankar can provide the cushion in the the fast bowling department by providing additional bowling options in case any of Bumrah, Bhuvi and Shami have an off day.

Hardik Pandya's batting role becomes crucial in setting the tone in last overs while batting first. He becomes crucial in chasing high scores because of his lusty hitting ability which we have seen in the IPL

5. Bumrah

Searing Yorkers, wily variations, slow full toss, immaculate line & length, name it any, India has found everything a fast bowler needs to possess for being a prime bowler. Bumrah came into the reckoning rather quickly and matured even more quickly and is the leading bowler for India heading to the World cup.

For a 25 year old, Bumrah is heading the fast bowling department, that consists of more experienced bowlers like Shami (28) and Bhuvi (29).

It is because of his ability to read batsman, produce immaculate line and length at any stage of the match, he is considered the best of the current lot of pace battery, which is why he stands atop the bowling rankings in ODI Cricket and is the prime bowler among the lot.

The death over specialist as he is known, Bumrah will be very crucial for India's chances at World Cup victory in case of close games. The way Virat uses Bumrah's overs will invariably be crucial for India's chances of winning in close games.

6. Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep (24 Years) will be heading the spin department and he too is much younger than Chahal (28 Years) but has taken almost double the wickets than Chahal in 8 more matches than Chahal.

He will provide India the much needed check in containing the runs, as well as picking wickets during middle overs either in defending a total or when the opposition is batting first.

With his bag full of tricks and exposure to provide India the required wickets or containing runs depending on the situation, he becomes a crucial player for the World Cup 2019.

P.S:- One must not forget the Dhoni support to tweakers, DRS (Dhoni Review System) and his support to Kohli during crucial last over thrillers.

 

Hope India lifts this world cup as India has not 1 Captain but 3 (Kohli, Rohit & Dhoni). 

While Kohli has not won a cup, Rohit and Dhoni have won Cups from IPL's and their resources are very well available to Kohli to make India lift the Cup. 

Also this current team has a blend of experience and youthfulness which makes it even brighter for India to lift the cup.


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