INDIAN TEAM @ World Cup : Are we still the Favourites ?

So here we are on the verge of getting for the Biggest Cricketing league or say the Festival of the world . But we have to keep in mind that World Cup is knocking our doors and we don’t ahve any international match left . So if we have finalised our squad for world cup then we have to look out for form and if not then for players ; we are actually somewhere in between .

Let’s start with Post-Aussie tour matches . We went on to New Zealand where we had a good season overall winning ODIs 4-1 but losing T20Is 2-1 . In the ODIs , in first match we restricted them at 150 odd and then chased it down easily . In the 2nd match we made a big score around 300 and defended it easily . In the 3rd game we restricted them at a middling score and chased it down very comprehensively and won the series . After 3rd game BCCI decided that VIRAT should be rested for the rest games as he needs some rest pruor to world cup and also we have won the series , though this declaration came after 1st match only . SHUBHMAN GILL couldn’t do somethingh special but we all know how enormously gifted batsman he is . In the 4th ODI NEW ZEALAND made many changes in the squad and also opted a bowling friendly wicket . I will not say as a result but yes we were bundled out for a historic 92 and obviously there was no chance of defending that . In the 5th and final game wicket was again difficult to bat on but ROHIT opted batting , which was a brilliant decision to show the confidence to test our batting . We lost early wickets again but this time RAYUDU took the centre stage and played a lovely innings of 95 and made sure we reach a good score building partnerships with SHANKAR who made his Impression for the first time , JADHAV and PANDYA did some woderful finishing to take us to a challenging total , initailly match looked close but later on we won it in a very Champion style and proved that we are the deserved winners . There are way too many positives from this series , SHAMI’s sharp and rhythmic bowling , our spinners in prime form , SHANKAR and RAYUDU stepping up in pressure situations , PANDYA coming back from Ban and looking extremely focussed on his game and most importantly coming back as a Team team after such a bad loss . In my opinion it was the Best ever series victory under KOHLI’s Captaincy and it was a bad decision to rest him when he was in such a prime form both as a batsman and as a Captain , he could have been rested for a few matches in the IPL as his rest really broke our Invincible momentum .

Then coming into the T20Is we lost the first match very badly with none of our departments working actually , we can call it an Off Day as in the next game we made solid comeback and on the ground where AUS-NZ witnessed highest ever chase , we restricted hosts to 160 odd and then we chased it down quite easily . In the 3rd match , we again had to chase a big total and match was very thrilling as well but we just well short by 4 runs at the end . One can’t complain in s. Now we hosted AUSTRALIA at home . In the 1st T20 we batted on a very damp wicket where we couldn’t even cross 130 but still we fought very boldly and they were avle to win it only on the last delivery . In the 2nd match wicket was very good and we targetted 200 but due to some early wickets followed by some Heroic innings we reached 190 . Initially it seemed we can easily the defend it but we couldn’t as MAXWELL STORM blew just everything away and and we lost another T20 series that too consecutively .

Now let me analyse our T20I Side . Our openers are just perfect , just some consistency is required and in my opinion at any cost RAHUL should be our one opener . VIRAT is always the best at 3 and in middle order PANT , KARTHIK and SHANKAR can do the job . It may sound odd but DHONI should not continue in T20Is even if he continues in ODIs after World Cup as he is no more that Old Vintage Dhoni anymore . PANDYA Brothers playing together makes our balance very strong . Our four Pillars in bowling BHUVI , BUMRAH , CHAHAL and KULDEEP ; one thing to be noted is that these 4 never played together in these 2 T20I Series so we never actually went with our full strength in our stronger department . Also in these series more concentration was on preparation of ODI Squad for World Cup so despite these losses are concerning but should not be taken too hard , we have won bigger and tougher series than these and we will come back very strongly and that’s my promise .

Now let’s come to the so called EYE OPENER or the WARNING SIGNAL . The ODIs against AUS ; where we won won the first 2 matches but SURPRISINGLY lost the remaining 3 to lose the series and not only it was Historic in nature but also the Worst ever Loss under KOHLI’s Captaincy . In the 1st match we restricted them to a middling score and were good on Chase but some sudden wickets and the match became interesting but DHONI and JADHAV sealed it . 2nd match was a very tough wicket , guided by VIRAT’s Ton we reached 250 and it looked initially than AUS will chase it easily but then some superb bowling and fielding turned the tide completely in our favour with SHANKAR bowling a historic final over . In the 3rd match , which was perhaps DHONI’s last match in India and also his hometown RANCHI where we got a challenging total to chase and we should have chased it but no one other than VIRAT actually stepped up , his century went in Vain this time . DHONI was rested for the last 2 matches to test PANT , so we can see DHONI cleverly planned everything with the BCCI . In the 4th match we made a dominant comeback with both our returning back to form but still we reached only 360 odd despite getting around 200 opening partnership . Flaws in our finishing were visible here , while batting AUS was not scoring very quickly but they scored and kept wickets in hand with some remarkable batting performances . After MAXWELL’s wicket it seemed we have sealed the series but from nowhere came a player whose name I heard then only ASHTON TURNER who just ripped apart our bowling and took his team home . Now it was the decider and our team selection was very bad , in aim of strengthening our bowling we made our batting order miserable . Though we restricted them to a chasable total we were very very surprisingly not able to chase it as well . Some bad shots and some inexperienc in the middle order completely allowed AUS Bowling to tear us up . Though BHUVI and JADHAV showed some respectedable effort but these were never enough .

Before this series our team looked more and less complete . But instead of this series filling out the remaining places it has widened the Hole . As suddenly RAYUDU and KARTHIK find their future lying in Uncertainty . Middle order , 3rd OPENER , 4th Seamer and 3rd Spinner , everything is under Suspended now . For concern I would say that in 4th match our death bowling failing with wet ball , though we have defended 68 runs in 8 overs against NZ who’s batting was more destructive than AUS . It’s not an area to be worked upon but to be THOUGHT upon by our bowlers . One thing we learnt that Overreliance on VIRAT is a deadly disease , one can be a champion player but he can’t win you matches alone everytime . Some other teachings are BHUVI and BUMRAH should play ahead of anyone else and so should KULDEEP and CHAHAL , reason behind latter two being quite ineffective was AUS batsman got quite acquainted to them playing too occasionalmy against us . Another thing we learned that if we have to select someone and before that give players full chances , or else everyone will stand further more confused as happened in this case . I can say one thing that it was good that we had this eye opening series before world cup and it should not be taken as one breaking our Morale but instead the one who highlighted our walk areas which can be transform into strengths . Some interesting facts are that whenever we lose a series before World Cup we do fairly well in the tournament , though it has no significance practically . Another thing that we defeated big teams easily at their backyard but our home matches were very closely contested ones , I frankly don’t have it’s answer .

That’s how life is , just one series before I said that it was the Best victory and just this one is termed as the Worst one under KOHLI’s Captaincy ,but everyone remembers the latter only . Yes I do accept that we were way below the mark in this series and didn’t did justice to our status . But from what Angle does it mean that we will change our opinion for our team even faster than Light . Can we just bury all the dominance of last 2 years after just one bad series . We lost just 2 ODI Series in this period , this one was very disappointing and surprising and has definitely shaken momentum but what was more shocking that how I saw the change in opinion of all . Everyone was just satisfied with the team before this series but just after this we have drastically become so weak that we may not go even in the second round of World Cup . Come on guys it is a game , Win and Loss happens , if you would have been so smart , intelligent and talented then you would have been in the team and if you are not then let those who are there to play so their job and you do what you can do ; CRITICISING to the least extent . Support them , don’t demoralize them prior to the world cup . Having a win percentage of 70% is something our Rivals can’t even dream of and we have maintained it from last 2 years and yes we are still the Favourites to win tbis tournament . It is very easy to support a team when it’s winning but it’s equally important to support it when it has lost and requires our support to forget this Bad Dream and rule the world all over again .

Team selection is around mid April so in between IPL only we have to select our team , so before the IPL starts let me try to bring out our squad for the world cup . Let’s first list the players who have booked their flight to England . ROHIT , DHAWAN , VIRAT , DHONI , JADHAV , PANDYA , BHUVI , CHAHAL , KULDEEP , BUMRAH , SHAMI . So here we can see that no. 4 slot is empty , first let’s try to fill it , my choice is SHANKAR for his technique and ability to change gear . Other choice can be RAYUDU but I will continue with former only ; both will hav egolden opportunity to use IPL to make the place to WC Squad , SHANKAR has a vwry good opportunity if he bats at no. 4 for SRH . For other option in middle order I would like to go with KARTHIK for his wonderful finishing skills and he has to prove his worth this IPL palyinga s a finisher. I think KL RAHUL is almost certain as 3rd Opener , just he needs to have a good IPL . For the one left out spot I would like to have either a 3rd Spinner or a 4th pacer . I genuinely don’t thinkthat we have another pacer who deserves to be in the WC Squad , ISHANT , UMESH , KHALEEL , KAUL and CHAHAR no one is deservingly ready for it . Even if we look for 3rd Spinners JADEJA has not performed up to the mark nor does any other spinner has been that impactful , we won’t take any spinner to world cup who was not a part of the team in a while . So even if I want a bowler for this spot of I am not able to find one I will take PANT with me . He is an explosive batsman we all know and he can be used smartly like a Floater . Also he missed out on 2017 CHAMPIONS TROPHY as he was inexperienced and I don’t want him to miss out again this time the mega experience with DHONI by his side , after all only he has to fit in his boots and only He is the FUTURE . So that is my team before the IPL . There can be some changes after IPL due to some extaordinary performances ; other than the pacers mentioned , batsman like RAHANE , YUVRAJ and spinners like AXAR and ASHWIN can still do some miracle though it seems very unlikely that such players will be brought who were not playing in a while . Though it seems end of road for WC to RAYUDU AND JADEJA , just remember that both will be playing under MAHI’s Captaincy in CSK and under his captaincy even FISH can fly . So fingers are crossed to witness the team which will represent our country in the World Cup .

It’s the season of IPL and all teams are looking star studded and capable to win the trophy . We all are excited to watch different players playing together . I am rendering my support to RCB (E SALA CUP NAMADE) , if KOHLI leads his team to IPL Triumph this year it will be a major boost for him before World Cup . So whatever be the time as our skipper has said players have to ensure their workload management and being careful from any injuries . IPL happens each year but World Cup only once in 4 years . One can say that having IPL before world cup can shake our momentum as it would have been better if we had played ODIs but I think it has taken place at a very perfect timing when players want to go fresh after Eye Opener series . Let’s bath into the colours of IPL in our diverse country and then come back in BLUES without fail for our nation with the sole mission of conquering World Cup and making our country the World Champions .




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