IPL Over ….. Time to get into the World Cup Hangover

So the INCREDIBLE PREMIERE LEAGUE has ended and so has the Thrillers we used to encounter daily . This tournament comes once in a year but we all become so attached with it ; watching nail biting encounters daily literally SPOILS our habit and once the tournament is over we all just start MISSING cricket which I am also doing now . Keeping these things aside what a mega contest it was …. wasn’t it ? Till the last league game we were not sure that who are the ones making it to the Play-Offs . That’s the reason it’s considered the most Exciting league in the world
First time we saw a team coming quantifying with just 12 points due to good NET RUN RATE (NRR) and a damn good luck . We saw DELHI CAPITALS see a change in it’s fortunes with change in Jersey and Name . Their performance was just above expectations inspired by the Young Guns and under supervision of LEGENDS like PONTING and GANGULY . KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS and KINGS XI PUNJAB lost it completely in the second half after starting brilliantly . RAJASTHAN ROYALS also had a very dismal year with competing only in parts .

Let’s talk about the Champions MUMBAI INDIANS who “SHAKED THE WORLD” as they say . Consistent throughout the tournament and played like absolute Champions in the Final led exceptionally well by ROHIT SHARMA and guided by some Brilliant performances . But the runner ups CHENNAI SUPER KINGS were no way behind ; led by CAPTAIN COOL this team nailed the very contest . Despite having an inexperienced middle order , senior players and ineffective death bowling it managed to cover things up .

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE again had another unsuccessful year . Though after losing 6 initial games they went to get 11 points . Nothing actually worked for them as VIRAT lost 11 consecutive Tosses in a streak . Many were attacking KOHLI’s Captaincy forgetting that he will also be leading our country prior to IPL in something more important and his confidence can shake due to it . But fortunately the comback due to soem prolofoc All Rounders saved the deal quite a bit . Also as SUNIL GAVASKAR said “RCB not qualifying is a Blessing in Disguise , not only it means an extra week of rest of our Captain but also that all his Luck is reserved for the World Cup” .

This IPL will be remebered for the exploits of ANDRE RUSSELL , the way he was smashing the ball was just Pathetic (Of course for the Ball) . This IPL also marked the comeback of SMITH and WARNER ; both of them were in sublime form specially the Latter just redefined Consistency . His chemistry with BAIRSTOW , the English wicketkeeper against whom he will be playing against in ASHES later this year . Both of them didn’t allowed bowlers even to blink properly . That’s the beauty of IPL ; Mistakes happen but how one gets back from it is what matters and I am sure these two are gonna make an impactful comeback in world cricket .
First time we saw “MANKADING” taking place in IPL ; instead it should be named “BUTLERING” why the name of bowler is being spoiled when Batsman was at fault . Also something we saw the first time was DHONI the captain Cool loosing his Cool and arriving in ground to argue with Umpire . I am very sorry to say that I didn’t liked his behaviour as when in Final Pollard was not given a Clear wide he didn’t say a word . Lastly this IPL will surely be remembered for extremely terrible Umpiring which resulted in too many Captain-Umpire arguments as many clear decisions were given Wrong . This needs to be taken care of as IPL is a tournament having world class reputation so we need to maintain the standard of Umpiring . Also we should not forget a Funny trend of Ball hitting the Stumps but Bails not falling as if they were stuck with Glue or what .We also saw the Craze and love of Fans when they were in stadium till 11:30 even after Heavy Rains .

On one hand we had HARDIK PANDYA , MS DHONI , SHAMI , DHAWAN , BUMRAH and KL RAHUL who were in superb form giving us high hopes . On the other hand we had ROHIT , KULDEEP , BHUVI and SHANKAR were completely out of Form giving us worries . While rest of the players including VIRAT were quite Okay throughout the tournament we can and should expect that they all will come in form and perform collectively on Blues when it will really matter

Now we will look at the BREAKTHROUGHs of IPL :

RIYAN PARAG : This 17 year old has made a mark with some lovely batting and handy bowling . Not now but he will surely play for India one day .

NAVDEEP SAINI : This FAST Sensation was brilliant for RCB and the way he bowled both with new ball and in death was Fantastic . I am clearly seeing him representing INDIA in series post world cup .

RAHUL CHAHAR : This young leg spinner was sensational against top batsman and I see him playing alongside his Brother for India soon .

SHREYAS GOPAL : He was absolutely brilliant . Taking wickets of VIRAT and ABD was like Cakewalk for him and he should be in the Indian team in series post world cup .

GURKEERAT MANN : His performance got quite unnoticed but in whatever chances he got he showed some very Mature innings with some terrific shots .

Now just before concluding let me give my IPL XI :


So all and all it was yet another brilliant Festival of Cricket which we will again wait for the next year
Now let’s bring our attention to the biggest tournament in the world ….. The WORLD CUP . IPL comes every year but World Cup is what one remembers for Lifetime the dream moment which comes every 4 years . When everyone will just bath in cricketing colours cheering for their teams .

WINDIES gave the statement of it’s dominance by winning world cups in 1975 and 1979 so did AUSTRALIA with 3 consecutive wins in 1999 , 2003 and 2007 and 5 in total . If we look at our records first it was “DEVON KE DEV” KAPIL DEV leading the Underdogs who had won just 1 match in 2 world cup editions . His incredible innings of 175 filled everyone with a winning spirit and we were able to beat world champions Windies from just nowhere . In 2011 we became the first team to win a world cup on home turf . It was MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI with the help of a experienced side which defied all odds and finished off in style and finally SACHIN TENDULKAR’s dream of winning a World Cup was fulfilled . Now in 2019 we will be led by VIRAT KOHLI who was a Talented Rookie in 2011 and helped with some nice innings , was the star in 2015 but couldn’t perform upto the mark and failing in Semis was a big setback for him ; but today in 2019 he is the Captain , the best batsman and the flag bearer of Indian cricket in the world who will be putting all his efforts with ultimate Passion for winning the 3rd Trophy for the country . Let’s look at the squad which is quite balanced .

Let’s take a look at the players who will be representing our country for the biggest cricketing tournament in the world this year at England :

My first XI will be opening with ROHIT SHARMA whose form is in a dip but he is a Master of the Big stage and DHAWAN the man of ICC Tournaments who has been in phenomenal form . KL RAHUL will have to make way for them but his role may come at No.4 as per as I think . VIRAT the skipper will lead from front as the role of Anchor at 3 , SHANKAR should be the prime choice for no. 4 due to his all round abilities . DHONI coming at 5 will perfectly set it up for us with JADHAV and PANDYA serving as All Rounders and Finishers will give us a Balance very few teams have with as much as 7 bowling options . KARTHIK can also be brought in as Finisher if need arises . My choice is BHUVI but only one between him and SHAMI can play as BUMRAH will be there throughout no doubt . KULDEEP and CHAHAL both should be played except conditions are extremely overcast . JADEJA being an All rounder and the best fielder in the group can come out useful if need arises . No doubt it would have been better if we would have had an extra Pacer in place of him .

Much will depend on warm up matches also . We have 2 games ; on 25th vs NEW ZEALAND and on 28th vs BANGLADESH . I think we should rest BUMRAH in those as he has fatigued a lot during IPL and will be our main bowling asset throughout the tournament . Also it will help us in selecting one between BHUVI and SHAMI . Warm up matches will also help us in properly finalising our middle order and testing if SHANKAR can fit in as all rounder ; but if he does he should be given the new ball as it will be the best time for him to take wickets . Also it will be a good move if we keep the no.4 position as a Floater , not only it will make our strategy dynamic as per the situations but also keep the Opposition guessing with surprise .

There have been certain arguments presented against few selections . Such as SHANKAR over RAYUDU ; here I was in favour of the decision as former is more technically competent and reliable specially in the conditions we are playing in . KARTHIK over PANT ; here I was not against the decision but I never wanted PANT to miss out as I mentioned earlier as well . Not only it was harsh on him but with the scintillating form he is in it will be a huge loss for us as well . It would have been better if we had gone for both PANT and KARTHIK over SHANKAR keeping in mind the dismal recent form of the latter one . But PANT should not take it on Heart as he is future of Wicketkeeping not just in Indian Cricket but also in world cricket and he will get his due chance .

In my opinion SWING will be the KING in England as it’s not a Bilateral series but a long World Cup , so I am expecting quie swing friendly conditions there . We have three world class pacers in BHUVI , SHAMI and the best in the world BUMRAH ; with RABADA , CUMMINS and JOFRA there can be a tight competition in the tournament . But SPIN will also be playing a big role and sometime will outweigh Seam ; there with less greenery and enough pace on wicket batsman will be deceived . We have KULDEEP and CHAHAL who will be the two pillars of our bowling as our Captain said . There will be some quality spin in the tournament with RASHID KHAN , AADIL , MOEEN and ZAMPA around .

Talking about Batting ; no doubt there will be very high scoring games and India should keep 350 in mind atleast if we have to keep the Quality Opposition in pressure . If we win the toss we should definitely go for bowling as we aren’t sure what target is enough . But as skipper said some 250 around scores will also be defended by Quality bowling due to World Cup pressure . Some really big hitters like PANDYA , WARNER , RUSSELL , BUTLER playing can produce some great entertainment . Other than that our fielding should be at it’s best and no complacency can be tolerated here as this can actually be the difference among top teams .

Let’s discuss the teams which can qualify ahead . There is no doubt that with the team we have and also our performance in last 2 years shows we are absolutely playing the Semis . But from thereon what is important that those two days go well for us (Semi-Final and Final) . Any team can have an off day on the knockout day and that’s exactly what we have to take care of . Keeping in mind we have consistently playing well in ICC Tournaments throughout this decade but we have missed out in the knockouts many times . This time we will go with full strength on those two days . In my opinion the biggest THREAT is ENGLAND with the kind of form they are all in and obviously home conditions in their favour .

Other teams which can qualify are ENGLAND and AUSTRALIA . The 4th team spot will be filled by a close competition ; though there are big teams like SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND their recent form and team combination don’t give you that confidence . PAKISTAN performs well in England and has also won CHAMPIONS TROPHY in 2017 , WINDIES has definitely improved and is a dangerous team on any given day with the batting they have . AFGHANISTAN will be a party spoiler which can give atleast 2 Upsets in the tournament with the one can be their first match only against Australia . SRI LANKA and BANGLADESH are Underdogs but can give some Surprise inspired by the world cup .

Before concluding we should not forget that it is MS DHONI’s last world cup and probably his last international appearance as well . The man who laid the foundation of the team playing today and who won us all 3 ICC Tournament will not be playing for us anymore so it’s also an emotional tournament for all of us . He will be playing a crucial role even at this age . Along with being unmatchable behind the stumps he will also be making it large with the Bat in hand . His experience in tough conditions and his inputs in crucial situations will also come out as very useful . Though he is not the Captain but is still the Leader of the group and we have to win it for him .

So regardless of what our opinion with the selection is , which are our favourite players and whom were we supporting during the IPL ; once it’s the Indian Team it’s time for us to bleed BLUE again and the stage being the World Cup means that the shade needs to be even more DARKER . Whenever an Indian capatin has lifted a World Cup whether in 1983 or in 2011 it has brought thousands of young buddies on the Cricket field with the dream of representing their beloved country at the cricketing stage . I myself remember similar experienceof mine . Being a Kid I celebrated madly in 2011 and also cried madly at our Exit in 2015 ; one thing I can assure that only year has changed , my passion for my team hasn’t . Let 2019 be no different , this time VIRAT KOHLI and the Company will be trying their Best to win it for We the Fans , for our Army (as Skipper said) and for the country . All the Best and my best wishes to the team which has landed in UK . Fingers are crossed . Come on Team India let’s bring the World Cup Home this time .



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