These cricketers can make a difference in ICC World Cup 2015
Mumbai: Though the final team selection list is awaited, there are certain players in the Indian cricket team who are likely to make it to the class of ICC World Cup 2015. Deccan Chronicle analyses their strengths and weaknesses. While some of them were part of the squad that won the title in 2011, most of them are new kids on the block.
Shikhar Dhawan: The 29-year-old left-hander has the capability of sending bowlers on a leather hunt in any condition. How? His hand and eye coordination. Much like his predecessor Virender Sehwag, this Delhi lad can change the course of a match providing a good start. Unlike Sehwag, he doesn’t need homework for footwork. However, he has handled the rising ball well in extreme conditions and can adapt to swing too. With a solid batting average of 45, he is the man India need upfront. Watch out for the cover drive and straight drive.
Rohit Sharma: The king of the subcontinent is yet to prove his mettle overseas but his magnificent timing and clean hitting makes him a hot customer. It has been rare that Sharma went for the aerial route and did not succeed. He makes hitting look risk-free. But yes, the flat bouncy tracks in Australia with a little bit of movement added in New Zealand could expose him. In 2013, it took him 20 deliveries to read Dale Steyn in South Africa (the same hard track like that of Australia).
Virat Kohli: He has proved his worth almost in every possible ground in the world. The No 3 batsman can hold his nerve, fight through the innings and finish a match. His strength lies in his confidence that he carries on his sleeves, as well as mouth (yes, you read that right). Like the Australians, this Indian can play mind games sledging the opponent – a must if one is playing in Australia.
Ajinkya Rahane: The right-handed batsman from Mumbai could fill in the shoes of former cricketer Rahul Dravid. Why? Even he is like the wall who doesn’t throw his wicket away easily. If somebody needs to play the role of a sheet anchor, it is him. His recent good run in the Tests against the Aussies also reflected his newly found aggression. If anybody among the new lot could play the short ball well, it is Rahane. He can pull, hook, jump and slice the ball.
Suresh Raina: One player who comes in at No 5 without any set target in mind. His motive is to keep the scoreboard ticking. He doesn’t play for records and doesn’t mind getting out in the 20s or 30s. All he wants is to get the job done for the team. He is a clean hitter and a match-finisher. Raina can also roll his arms and can act as the fifth bowler. He also seems to have worked on his major weakness – the short ball.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Now comes the man who will have to do a lot of multi-tasking. Keep wickets, think about fielding changes as well as strategise against individual players in the opponent team. A good student of the game, Dhoni – who already retired from Tests and criticised for losses overseas – would like to answer back his critics. With the bat, ball as well as the gloves. A wounded tiger is always dangerous. The spectators would to watch the helicopter shot once more.
Ravindra Jadeja: Though it remains to be seen whether he is fit for the mega event but if he is, God save the opponents. Imagine how it would feel if you have to bowl to a full-fledged batsman coming in at No 7? Jadeja adds to the strength being an all-rounder. His left-arm spin can be effective on the hard tracks.
Ravichandran Ashwin: He was a newbie when India lifted the ICC World Cup in 2011 but now, he is a senior customer in the team. Spin bowling in Australia is a different ball game and this man surely knows how to go about his job with the odd ones, doosras and the carom ball. Out of six deliveries, four of them would be different from each other. He can bat too.
Umesh Yadav: He has the pace, bounce and all that is required for a fast bowler to breathe fire in those pitches. Yadav’s dynamics falls flat in the subcontinent due to the tailor-made spinning tracks but could be useful in Australia and New Zealand. He has the ability to hit the deck and also swing the ball reverse.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: He is not fast, but his ability to swing the ball holds him above many in the squad. But Team India should reserve him for the matches in New Zealand where there is a bit of movement in the air. One genuine swing bowler can fetch the team wickets. On top of that, Kumar is a decent batsman who can hang around for a bit too.
Ishant Sharma: He found his rhythm back since the tour of England in July and troubled the Aussies in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He is tall, lanky and has the ability to generate pace and aim for the block hole. He is a senior who could guide the younger bowlers as he is used to the conditions.