India would be entering this world cup not only with the pressure of being one of the host nation but also one of the favorites. The favorite tag is not something given to them just for being the host nation but has been gained by Dhoni’s men through consistent performances over the last couple of years. So let’s take a look at the Indian team composition.
Everyone knows that the strength of Indian team is always their batting and rightly so. The batting is power packed with the addition of Yusuf Pathan lower down the order. The top order comprises of Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Ghambir followed by Yuvraj Singh, Raina/Kohli and Dhoni forming the middle order. So a fantastic batting line up who can on their day destroy any bowling attack on the subcontinent pitches. Sachin joining Sehwag at the top means that Ghambir has to drop down to number 3 in the order.
Virat Kohli’s excellent form with the bat for over a year means that Suresh Raina would most probably have to give way to him in the X1. Yuvraj will hang on to the number 4 spot followed by the captain Dhoni and Pathan to provide the finishing touches. The bowling though will be a huge concern for the captain and the coach. The combination for their first game in just couple of day’s time will be a huge headache. None of the pace bowlers looked threatening in the couple of warm up games which India played. The spinners though did a brilliant job. So now the question is whether to play a 2 pace/2 spin combination or go with the tried and tested 3 pace/1 spin attack.
The spinners Chawla, Ashwin and Harbajan have for sure out bowled the pacers in the lead up games which means that Dhoni might want to go with two spinners. Zaheer will be for sure one of the pacers in the team but his partner is still to be decided. Nehra, Sreesanth and Munaf have struggled in the lead up and none of them has looked like picking up wickets or containing the batsmen with the new ball. So the tossup can be random as it probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference. So all in all I think the onus is for sure on the batting. The batsmen cannot have too many off days in the middle during this world cup. The Indian bowling is thin and on flat batting decks will struggle to contain the opposition.
The Indian team for me resembles the 1996 Sri Lanka team when they won the world cup. Sri Lanka’s plan was simple during that time, bowl first and chase with their powerful batting line up. They like India only had one good pace bowler and one experienced spinner. They relied heavily on the part-timers to choke the opposition in the middle overs and it was extremely successful. So India needs to also play to their strength which is their spinners. Harbajan and Chawla/Ashwin will be the way to go for the Indians.
So with great batting and adequate bowling for this conditions, India for sure are one of the favorites for the world cup. I think if the bowling stands up to be counted this time, they have an excellent chance of going the distance. Dhoni also has to use the part-timers wisely and has plenty of options in that regard. India have had a decent track record at world cup’s played in the subcontinent as they have at least reached the semis on the previous two occasions (1987 and 1999) and would want to go one step further this time. This world cup also marks the last for Sachin Tendulkar and he would for sure want to sign out from the 50 over format in a grand style. I hope that team India can give us fans with plenty to cheer about in the coming month and a half and I wish Dhoni and his men all the success.
My Indian X1 for Bangladesh clash: Sachin Tendulkar, Virendar Sehwag, Gautham Ghambir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni (Capt, Wkt), Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla/Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth (I go with sree as he has the ability to produce match winning spells)