Team India - Preview

Sachin "Is there such a thing as 6th time lucky?" Tendulkar
There is something about these world cup games that gets the best out of Tendulkar. He has had 5 stabs at it and he knows that this is practically his last attempt. His role in this tournament would obviously be to bat through the innings. If he can do that at least 3 times in the next 7 weeks, he would go past 100 international tons. If those 3 efforts come in the quarters, semis and the finals, he would have realized that elusive dream of his.

Virender "Need to bat long" Sehwag
Viru wants to curb his merry ways a bit at the start of the innings and look to bat long. There is no doubt that if he bats 40 overs, it would mean that the opposition has signed-sealed-delivered the game to India. He looked a bit confused in the warm-up games about how he should go about building his innings. But for someone with the most uncluttered mind in the business, he shouldn't take long to sort it out. His running between the wickets was a bit iffy during the warm-up games, but hopefully his feet would be all warmed-up for the first game against B'desh. Not sure how his shoulder is holding up, but it would be great if he could bowl a few overs in games where the main bowlers get tonked.

Gautam "How do I show Kohli that I deserve to be at No.3" Gambhir
Virat had made the No.3 slot his own with some consistent performances. It was always a known fact that Virat had to move (down/out) when the big three returned. But Gambhir, the Gambhir that he is, would want to show one and all why he is the best man to do the job at that slot in this tournament. I must say that he looked pretty good in the warm-up game against NZ, especially after he reached his 50.

Virat "Sorry Suresh" Kohli
I'm glad that he is going to be in the starting XI. Dhoni would be looking to be fluid with the batting order for slots 4 to 7. But Yuvraj's indifferent form with his batting would give Kohli the opportunity to bat at No.4 in most games. He may not know how to hide a hickey, but he does know more than just a thing or two about keeping the scorer busy during the milking overs.

MS "Gotta do this for SRT - Well ofcourse, for Gary too" Dhoni
The world is his oyster. He was not his usual self with the bat in SA, but that ton in the last warm-up game should give him a lot of confidence going into the tournament. He is at the top of his game when it comes to captaincy and those skills of his could just be the differentiating edge that India has over the other contenders. I'm not too concerned about the lack of the reserve keeper in the squad. Virat can do the job for a game or two if Dhoni catches a niggle.

Yuvraj "Thank GOD for my bowling skills, thank GOD there is no Dmitri" Singh
India desperately needs Yuvraj to bring his A game to all departments. Right now he is struggling a bit with the bat. If not for his bowling skills and his uncanny ability to pick wickets, he would have struggled to justify keeping Raina out of the starting XI. All it takes is one knock in the middle to get back into the groove and I sincerely hope that knock comes in early in the tournament.

Suresh "Hmm.. after all the sacrifices I made batting down the order" Raina
You have got to feel for the bloke. Batting down the order is never easy and he has done exceptionally well for India (especially in the sub-continent) in the No.6 slot in recent times. But there are only so many batsmen that a team can play. He is still one of the best finishers in the game and he might get a chance based on how the middle order fares in the opening games.

Yusuf "Ask them to bounce me out on these pitches" Pathan
Those 2 ODI centuries that he scored in recent times have completely transformed Pathan's stars. Before those 2 knocks, he was just another fringe player. Now no one in his right mind would argue against why he is considered a must pick. If the top order does its job right, he might not have to play a major part in this campaign. But with him at No.7, any target the opposition sets would now seem like a Pathan-able target.

Harbhajan "Has Swann made it large?" Singh
He has sounded pretty wise in some of his recent interviews. He still sounds as cocky as he was as a 17 year old, but he sure does put in a lot more thought into his bowling these days than he ever did. India go into the tournament with their frontline spinner in good form and that augurs very well. For India to nurture any hopes of winning the cup, Harbhajan needs to deliver and deliver large.

Zaheer "Just need 7 injury free weeks in a row" Khan
On days that Zaheer is fit, he lifts himself and the others in the attack to a very happy place. He has this amazing knack of seizing the moment (hate to sound like Shastri) and making it his own. All the Indian fans would be hoping that their best fast bowler stays supremely fit for the next 7 weeks.

Munaf "I'm the second best seamer in the squad" Patel
He is supposed to provide the "steady" option in the seam attack. He is done well in the recent past and has shown that he has remarkable control over line and length. But on the sub-continent pitches where anyone can be taken to cleaners at anytime, he would have to be his guiling best from the start to the finish. He has worked hard on his fitness and fielding levels, but is still a level below what you would expect from an international fast bowler.

Ashish "Seriously, I'm the second best seamer in the squad" Nehra
Nehra has done enough in the past 18 months to deserve a spot in the squad. But he has had a few ordinary outings in the last few games. His rhythm is just not there. He is still the one who put in the best bowling performance from an Indian in WC games. But that was 8 years ago and it is amazing how fans still hope that he would be able to dish out at least one such performance in this year's edition. It is also a troubling thought that if both Ashish and Munaf play together, Dhoni would have one too many fielders that he would have try and hide in the field.

Shantakumaran "MUST not irritate anyone - especially team mates, umpire and fellow Indi Commandos" Sreesanth
He was supposed to be just cheering for the team with his music-band. But fate intervened, poor Praveen got injured, and Sree is now up for a shot at WC glory. He may currently be the fourth in the pecking order, but I would pick him in the playing XI (ahead of both Nehra and Munaf) just for his ability to bowl some real jaffas in the first 10 overs. He may end up not being a part of the first few games. But I've a feeling that fate would intervene again - Sree would play against Pakistan in the later stages, Misbah would play a scoop straight into Sree's waiting hands in the final over and all would be forgotten (including those ridiculous loser gestures).

Ravi "Hope the captain shows the same faith that he showed in the IPL" Ashwin
Ashwin would be called upon if the captain feels he needs to use more spin in the initial power-play overs. Based on how the seamers fare in the opening games, Ashwin's chance to showcase his skills would come sooner or later.

Piyush "Don't really need any hugs to perform" Chawla
Piyush might have started off the campaign as the third choice spinner in the attack. But his more than impressive performances in the warm-up games have ensured that he is now second in line. Dhoni is likely to go with with the "3 seamers + 1 spinner" attack in most games. But if the idea is to just go in with the 4 best bowlers in the team, Piyush might get a look-in.

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Anonymous 10:55 PM

Great listing.. I thought of sharing with my friends... Thanks for sharing    

Blogger vishnupavan 4:18 AM

@Cricruns Thanks    

Anonymous Live Cricket 2:02 PM

The World Cup winning team    

Blogger Sarah Hall 5:19 AM

Thanks for this post! I'd like to share it with my friends and colleagues as well. You're a great article author. Keep it up! Best regards,

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