Before the first ODI between the visiting England team and India, on Friday, October 14, in Hyderabad, all talk about the Indian team for the match revolved around how depleted the squad was and how England could expect an easy time against it.
The absence of mega stars Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag and Zaheer Khan made England overwhelming favourites to win the match and the series. But after India’s dominant victory by 126 runs, the Indian team is being perceived a bit differently.
In fact, at SportingAttitude, we believe we have just witnessed some of the core players of the Indian team for the ODI world cup 2015, in action. Gambhir, Rahane, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin and Praveen Kumar appear certain to be in the eleven, while the remaining three could comprise an all-rounder, and two pure bowlers, with at least one seamer among them. The three additional players could be a batsman, a keeper and another bowler.
While neither Zaheer Khan nor Nehra is likely to be around, at the time, players like Munaf Patel, Ishaant Sharma and Sreesanth could still make the cut provided they work hard and stay fit. It will also be interesting to see how youngsters like Varun Aaron and Aravind use their opportunities. The second keeper’s slot could go to Parthiv Patel or Saha, while spinners Mishra and Ojha could compete for the remaining bowling spots. The batting spot could go to Yuvraj Singh, if he remains fit and focussed; otherwise players like Badrinath and Rohit Sharma could be preferred, over him.
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Harbhajan who has had more lives than the proverbial cat. The selectors have finally given vent to their frustration with Bhajji, by not selecting him, for this series. 2015 is a long way off, but with young players like Mishra and Ojha fighting to stay in contention, an older Harbhajan will need to perform brilliantly, over an extended period, to be considered for the next world cup. On current form, that appears remote, though I’d be happy to see the off-spinner prove me wrong.
The batting appears to be a settled unit, with Yuvraj/Rohit Sharma’s inclusion likely to give the team an additional spin bowling option. Rahane, who impressed on the England tour, has an icy temperament, reminiscent of the Mumbai school to which the youngster belongs. Gambhir is always worth the price of a ticket, provided he stays fit. Kohli is getting better, with every match he plays. Raina has done enough to secure his place, for some time to come. Dhoni has a few good years left, at the helm. Praveen Kumar has eased into the lead bowler’s spot, and his fitness will be key, to his inclusion and the team’s prospects. Ashwin, largely ignored by Dhoni during the 2011 world cup, looks like a permanent fixture, for years to come. Yusuf Pathan is a player who could have been in the team, but his inconsistency at the highest level has cost him his place. But knowing his ability and determination, it’s too early to rule out his comeback.
Finally, coming to the most impressive youngster of them all, Ravindra Jadeja, here’s the all-rounder India have been waiting for. If Jadeja can rein in his temperament, just a trifle, he could enjoy a long and fruitful international career.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.