The last edition of the ICC Champions Trophy held in June this year was won by India (without losing a single match), beating England (the home team) in the finals in an impressive encounter. This was another feather in MS Dhoni’s cap. The winning team contained the following players:
1. MS Dhoni (captain): This guy has been touted as the best Indian captain ever. Under him, the Indian team has achieved unmatchable feats like winning the ODI World Cup, winning the inaugural edition of World T20, gaining number 1 spot in the Test rankings, and now the Champions Trophy. This man as captain for the 2015 World Cup will surely be key for a successful campaign.
2. Shikhar Dhawan: Well this moustachio boy had been performing really well at the domestic level and after not being able to get a good opener for India after Gambhir and Sehwag’s exit, he was called in. He lived up to the expectations of the selectors, when he hit a century in his debut Test against Australia and went on to become the highest run scorer in the Champions Trophy. He will be a valuable option as an opener due to Sehwag and Gambhir’s age, fitness, and form issues.
3. Virat Kohli: He may be a hothead, but he has unmatchable capabilities as a player. Along with being a flawless batsman, he is an excellent fielder as well. His achievements are numerous: he is the fastest Indian to reach the mark of 1000, 3000, and 4000 runs in ODIs. For three consecutive years (2010,2011 and 2012), he has achieved the incredible feat of scoring the most runs by an Indian cricketer in a calendar year. This young gun will provide huge support to the team at the next World Cup surely.
4. Suresh Raina: He was once touted to be among the best fielders in the Indian team. This attacking batsman has always been a big support to the team at any time of crisis. He has a notable list of achievements: the highest run getter in the IPL, only Indian to score century in all forms of cricket, and many more. His position may receive some tough competition from Yuvraj Singh (a World Cup hero), but putting him in the squad will always be of big help.
5. Dinesh Karthik: Although this man has been appearing only sporadically at the international level, when he is in form he clearly takes the team to a better level. He has been a consistent performer at the domestic level. His notable performances include: this year’s IPL and in his maiden tour of England, where he was the highest run-getter in Tests and in return India went on to win the series. He cannot be assured of a place, but if he continues his super form, then with him in, the team will just get rolling.
6. Murali Vijay: He has become a prolific figure in Tests but in ODIs, he has not been able to live up to expectations. He may have performed at a satisfactory level in both domestic and test cricket, but his performers in ODIs seem to be low and looks like the World Cup may be a distant dream for him.
7. Rohit Sharma: This lad has great capabilities and as opener has been a top performer. If Gambhir and Sehwag’s issues remain, Dhawan and him would make a cracking opening pair at the World Cup.
8. Ravindra Jadeja: An excellent all-rounder, this young Gujarati lad shows a lot of skill and ability and has had a pretty successful career till date. He has been excellent with both bat and ball. His name featuring in the list of World Cup 2015 team is not a doubt at all.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin: This young man turned out to be an excellent choice. Currently, he is the best spin bowler for the Indian team. If his economical and wicket taking rhythm goes on, this man will be a no match for any other player and he will be a threat to the opposition.
10. Irfan Pathan: He was once called as India’s best seamer in the future by an ex-Indian cricketer. Sourav Ganguly had also shown a lot of faith and promise in this guy. He has also performed well as an all-rounder, but injury has been playing spoilsport for him. If fitness issues don’t come in, then he will be a great choice to bowl on Australian and New Zealand pitches.
11. Umesh Yadav: He may lack experience, but the 25-year old surely has unmatched skill. He is a wicket taking bowler and moreover, seeing him bowl at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australian legend Glenn McGrath was highly impressed with him. A fit, strong ,and quick bowler, he will surely turn out to be a great choice.
12. Bhuvneshwar Kumar: At 22, he has not only impressed the Indian selectors but he has become a threat to the opposition and his fan-list has surely been growing day by day. A bowling all-rounder and an excellent swing bowler for all kinds of pitches, this young gun is assuredly going to be a future top notch bowler for India. He will be a sure shot pick in the squad.
13. Ishant Sharma: This 6 ft 5 in tall lad is one of the fastest Indian bowlers. This bowler has been often included in India’s most dedicated bowlers list. He may not have played much at the international level but if other A-list bowlers like Zaheer Khan don’t make it to the squad, his inclusion will not be a doubt.
14. Amit Mishra: He is a right-arm leg-break bowler. He has had a successful time in the IPL. He is a consistent performer but due to fierce competition from other spinners like Harbhajan Singh and his age factor may keep him away from the World Cup picture.
15. Vinay Kumar: He cannot be noted down as a sure-shot name for the World Cup squad. His Venkatesh Prasad like style of bowling gets a mixed response from analysts and experts. He will surely have many fierce rivals for this spot in the team.
It may be too early to quote that this squad will be the one for retaining the World Cup crown, but due to Indian team’s winning phase with this squad, these players have a high possibility of staying in the squad. Within a span of 2 years we will surely see new faces coming up and making headlines and obviously we cannot forget the A-list players like Yuvraj, Gambhir, Sehwag, Zaheer, and Bhajji sitting out.
There will be many who retain their place, there will be surely new faces coming up, and surely at least one of the A-list players will make it back into the team. But lets hope for one thing that the Indian team’s winning phase should go on like this and lets hope for Yuvi, Gauti, Bhajji, Viru, and Zak to make a comeback at least in some form of international cricket.