In the past few world cup editions, team balance has been a concern for India. They missed a genuine all-rounder, who can win matches in the crunch situations, and bowl medium pace, after the departure of Kapil Dev. That one aspect has changed for them with Hardik Pandya in the side. He has an ability to win matches in the crunch situations and pick up crucial wickets. As captain Virat Kohli has admitted time and again, Pandya is the vital cog for the team balance. In fact, the addition of Vijay Shankar further enhances the balance. Shankar’s ability to bowl few good overs and score runs is a blessing. Let us look at the team balance and various other aspects of India, which makes them one of the tournament favorites.
All these years, India has been a batting superpower. And it isn’t changing in the 2019 world cup. 24,208 ODI runs between Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli are making the top order as immaculate as any. There’s hardly a time when at least one of them doesn’t play an imperative inning. No.4 has been debated for at least two years now and doesn’t change even in the championship tournament. Dhoni, Jadhav, and Pandya at 5, 6 and 7 are all genuine match winners. Their ability to hit the ball long ensures quick runs at the death. Dhoni is well-known across cricketing fraternity for his finishing abilities.
Pace bowling is yet another area that India struggled with in previous world cups. However, this area is well sorted for them this world cup. Bumrah is the best death bowler in the world at the moment – admitted even by the legend Sachin Tendulkar. Shami and Bhuvneshwar are well versed with bowling varieties. Spin duo – Kuldeep Yadav and YuzvendraChahal – have shown their ability to pick up the wickets in the middle overs, time and again.
Fielding – the third dimension of the game has been well covered by the Indian team. The athleticism of Dhoni behind the stumps, and rest of the unit in the ground – barring a couple of guys – can save at least 15-20 runs.
Once for Dhoni
Dhoni is one of the best cricketers India has produced. The legend has seen the triumphs in all three format of the game for the country. And he would like to do it once more in his last ODI world cup. And I won’t be surprised if the entire team would be up to the challenge.
Based on the team balance and recent performances across the world, cricket pundits and fans across the world are considering India as one of the four semi-final contenders.