India are scheduled to play their last ODI assignment before the World Cup against Australia. As the fifteen members were announced, it was an indication of what the World Cup squad may look like. While most of the cricketers were certainties, a couple of surprises also sprung up. The upcoming Indian Premier League is highly likely to influence the Indian squad for the most coveted title in the cricketing world. Here we breakdown the Indian squad and analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ahead of the limited overs series.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have an appetite of scoring plenty of runs at the top order. Their consistency over the last few years has been absolutely breathtaking. No wonder, the opening pair is the fourth most successful in terms of runs in ODIs. Virat Kohli’s finesse and aptitude for run scoring has made him an all time great already. His reliability at No.3 is unmatched and no one will have any second thoughts on that.
The pace order looks absolutely flawless. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was quite splendid in Australia as well as in New Zealand. The return of Jasprit Bumrah is certainly going to haunt the Aussies. Moreover, the biggest positive for India will be Mohammed Shami’s recent form in the limited overs international. The wrist spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been creating an enigma in the middle overs.
The Indian middle order seems as clueless as Justin Timberlake in a ghazal singing festival. Ambati Rayudu has been on and off with the bat quite often. Rishabh Pant has not done much to justify himself. MS Dhoni has been taking ample time at the crease to accelerate and get going with the bat.
Under these circumstances, India require another batsman to handle the finishing job but with Karthik excluded and Hardik Pandya injured, the Men in Blue are running out of resources. The form of KL Rahul has been a huge concern inspite of his two decent knocks in the England A series. The 26 year old has been a constant in and out feature in the team.
The duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been wreaking havoc in the middle overs against every opposition. Not only have they bamboozled the batsmen with their wrist spin but also picked a heap of wickets. Skipper Kohli will be glad to have them in their bowling ranks. This series is expected to be India’s final series before the World Cup.
Hence a lot of players would be raring to prove their audacity with the bat and ball. A stupendous performance will help them make a strong statement in the playing XI for the World Cup. The likes of Pant, KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu will be willing to prove their mettle in the middle order even though under pressure.
MS Dhoni’s indifferent form with the bat means someone else will have to don the finishing responsibility. Hardik Pandya who has already missed a lot of games owing to injury and suspension has again been ruled out due to lower back stiffness. Hence, one bad day for the top order can turn things ugly for the Indian contingent. Another interesting aspect is that Australia are playing both spinners, Nathan Lyon as well as Adam Zampa.
Pandya’s absence also means India might go ahead with a non specialist batsman or spinner. Most of the Australian batsmen are used to playing in subcontinent due to their IPL stints. In Bumrah, India have a formidable death bowler but Bhuvneshwar will have to be more consistent with his lengths. India should easily win the series unless Australia manage to surprise them.