Top 8 Teams for the ICC World Cup 2015 – India
India 15-man squad for ICC World Cup 2015: MS Dhoni (captain & wicket keeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Akshar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny.
India are entering the World Cup as the defending champions and as one of three teams who have won the title more than once. Being the current champions, some very high expectations lie with them in regards to their performance. The team started their preparations early by touring Australia that lasted more than three months.
One would expect such a team to be very used to the foreign conditions by now but it doesn’t quite show. India are currently ranked second and this clearly shows that they are not be taken lightly. They have maintained their ranking to stay in the top 3 for the major part of the past four years, exhibiting good consistency in regards to match winning ratio.
India has chosen to go with all-rounders in their squad to further strengthen their batting. With most of the bowlers under-performing, this seems to be a logical choice. The team went on to choose the young Stuart Binny and Akshar Patel for their final 15 as all-rounders along with the regulars like Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
India chose five batsmen and two wicket-keepers in the squad alongside four pacers. Ishant Sharma was initially part of the final 15 but a knee injury forced him out of the tournament with Mohit Sharma as his replacement who was already on the tour of Australia with the squad.
Big names like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag are not part of this World Cup and were left out due to their underwhelming performances in the recent past.
Virat Kohli has made it amongst the greats even before reaching his 30s. He has gone on to sustain a very high average and scored big hundreds over his career which has made him the backbone of the Indian batting. It’s because of Kohli’s excellent consistency when chasing that India have managed to implement their regular plan of chasing down big targets after their bowling has let them down. It’s not only in the second innings that he scores, his record while India batting first is nothing short of superb.
In the tour of Australia, India have gone winless but Kohli’s four hundreds in the test matches helped his side avoid a clean sweep in the test series. Virat Kohli has faltered in 6 innings in a row, (warm-ups included) where he has managed to score only 60 runs which could be an indication of a volcano about to erupt. If India have to show their strength as defending champions, then Kohli has to be the one leading the Indian batting.
MS Dhoni is known for his calm nature which earns him the title, Mr. Cool. He can stay cool and think through a stressful situations that befalls his team and this calmness provides the support that his team needs to pull through the worst of situations. Its not just his attitude and clever ODI captaincy, his wicket keeping and his skills as a finisher at the end are remarkably unbelievable. He may have been failing the past innings that he played, but knowing him, he will pull through and lead India to present an exhibition of strength that befits the defending champions.
Indian team’s strengths and weaknesses are as clear as day…and night. India have always depended on their batting. Afterall, their batting has always been at the forefront in competitions against all oppositions. They have heaps of experience in the side along with some amazing young talent who have proven their worth in the recent past.
With Dhawan, Kohli, Dhoni, Rahane, Raina and Rohit Sharma in the top and middle order, Indian batting is a power house. These batsman can play all styles of cricket and maintain excellent temperament. It doesn’t end there as the Indian team bats deep. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have shown promise when the rest of the Indian batting couldn’t, and carried India forward under all sorts of pressure. This is nothing less than what one expects from regular batsmen. With indications that Stuart Binny will play instead of an extra bowler, Indian batting will be even deeper and definitely a formidable side to face.
India’s weakness lies in their bowling. In the past we have seen them depend on the batting to cancel out their bowling’s weakness but it’s not the whole bowling attack that is weak, problems exist with the pace attack. Indian pacers lack the ability to consistently bowl on a single line or length and due to lack of confidence they fear thinking too much except for what they are told by their coaches and captain. Indian bowling has had to make do with some occasional performances from any one pacer or the spinners coming through to rescue the bowling on most occasions.
Its a fact that pitches in Australia and New Zealand do not suit irregular spin bowlers and only a quality spinner can extract the bounce to good use. This situation has put India at a disadvantage in the foreign land since their bowling is weaker than ever before. Pacers have been taking wickets in Australia but the run flow has increased just as much alongside.
Another problem faced by the Indian team is their poor record outside Asian conditions. Even the Indian batting power house struggles and crumbles under the pressure of new conditions. MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the most dependable players in the side, but even they have been out of form for the past few matches. While Kohli and Rahane have performed well in tests, their one-day preparations haven’t gone as expected. Even after so many months spent down under, India have failed to get used to the conditions which has led to a long, unfruitful summer in Australia.
India have been in Australia longer than any other team and they have been playing continuously for a year now which might bring the fatigue factor into play. Being the defending champions, Dhoni and co. have to forget about their Australian tour and start anew to somehow improve their game and spirit to put up a special display of cricket once more.
India qualifying to the quarter-finals is all but certain unless something truly nightmarish happens along the way. Kohli and Dhoni have to regain their form in-time for when their team needs them most. If they can manage that, there’s no reason why India can’t successfully defend the world championship.