After a few months of anticipation and fierce debate, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally announced the 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The tournament is set to kickoff from 30th May when the hosts, England will take on South Africa at the Oval. India will face the same opponent on 5th June at Southampton in their opening game. BCCI announced the much-awaited World Cup squad today which was not dependent on the IPL performances. Virat Kohli made it clear in his earlier interviews that they are searching for the right balance in the Indian team and IPL ‘s performance will not determine the final selection.

Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant faced the ax while Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar have been picked for the mega event. The exclusion of Rayudu has raised many eyebrows as he has fourth-highest batting average (47.05) for India in ODI cricket after Virat Kohli(59.57), MS Dhoni(50.37) & Rohit Sharma(47.39). Though the decision has been a little harsh on him, his inconsistency in the recent ODI series led to his downfall. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant, often called as the rightful heir to MSD’s throne, might have to wait for his World Cup appearance. He has been in good knick for the Delhi Capitals in the ongoing season IPL, but his wicketkeeping has been sluggish at times. Dinesh Karthik keeps his place for being a reliable wicket-keeper batsman with the tendency to play unorthodox strokes in the back end of the innings. Vijay Shankar, another highly rated youngster, will provide the much-awaited balance to the Indian team as he can not only bat at number four but can also bowl some crucial middle overs.

Most of the selections were predictable, to be honest, but the burning question was what will India go for a fourth seamer or another batsman. BCCI went for the latter and robed in Vijay Shankar in place of potential Umesh Yadav or Siddharth Kaul. After accessing the pitch conditions, a suitable playing eleven will lineup under the skipper, Virat Kohli. Dhawan & Rohit Sharma are likely to start the innings followed by Kohli, Shankar, Dhoni, and Jadhav as core batsmen. Hardik Pandya and Jadeja will provide the all-round firepower while Bumrah, Shami & Kuldeep Yadav will be the frontline bowlers. BCCI has put the best foot forward to name the majority of in-form players with the right combination of talented youngsters and experienced campaigners. With the ICC 2019 World Cup in sight, the World number two ODI side would be eyeing to bring home their third World Cup title.

Now the onus is on the Indian Cricket Team to deliver in the grandest stage of the Cricketing world. In England & Whales, the temperament and resilience of the players will be tested over the two-month long tournament. The main concern for the team management will be the fitness of all their key players who are currently sweating it out in the IPL. With match winners like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya & Jasprit Bumrah in their ranks, the Indian Cricket Team has the potential to go all the way in the ICC 2019 World Cup. It remains to be seen if the English tracks will come to haunt them back or will Kohli & Co rise against the odds to clinch the ultimate glory.

Squad

Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik