The team, currently ranked second in the ODIs, will be led by none other than the experienced MS Dhoni – who had guided the team to World Cup glory in the last edition. Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny have been included as all-rounders, whilst Axar Patel and Ravinchandran Ashwin offer spin options.
Here’s a look at the key players from India in the World Cup –
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Playing role: Wicket-keeper batsman
After his Test retirement in December, MS Dhoni has shifted his focus towards the shorter formats. The World Cup would be one of the major assignment for Dhoni as captain. He will be leading for the second time in India’s campaign to defend the World Cup title. When it comes to one-dayers, Dhoni is an astute captain and will also play an important role as a batsman lower down the order.
He has an impressive record of 8245 runs from 252 matches at an average of 52.51, which includes nine centuries and 56 half-centuries.
Playing role: Middle-order batsman
All eyes would be on Virat Kohli in the World Cup considering the form he was in during the Test series against Australia. Kohli as a batsman and cricketer has matured and definitely a key player in India’s middle-order. In the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, his 35 played a crucial role in India’s victory and this time the expectations are much higher.
In ODIs from 148 matches, Kohli has got more than 6,000 runs with 21 centuries at an average of 51.84.
Playing role: Top-order batsman
Ajinkya Rahane’s progress at the international level has been phenomenal and the Mumbai batsman made a grudual process from Tests to ODIs. The right-handed batsman will have a major role in India’s campaign at the World Cup and could be a floater in the line-up. The reason because Rahane too has adjusted well as an opener and if needed can bat at the middle order.
Rahane like Kohli would also be high on confidence after a successful Test series against Australia and needs to carry the same momentum into the mega event. His temperament, technique and approach towards his batting are his strenghts.
Playing role: All-rounder
Ravindra Jadeja is one such cricketer who won’t impress you immediately, but his limited skills be it with the ball and bat is an asset for India. His left-arm spin doesn’t get much spin but he maintains a tight line and length. Moreover, Jadeja as a batsman lower down the order can bring the long handle to effective use – added to that he is a livewire on the field.
In limited-over cricket, Jadeja is Dhoni’s go-to man, especially as a bowler who can get through the overs quickly and keeping things tight. Jadeja also faces the challenge of recovering from a shoulder injury before the start of India’s matches.
Playing role: Middle-order batsman
Suresh Raina may have not have found his footing at the Test level, but for India in the shorter formats he is indispensable. His struggle against the short balls in Tests is well known, however, in one-dayers he judges the length quite early and manages to find gaps easily.
His slow offspinners is a plus for Dhoni when he wants to slip through few quick overs. Raina’s form would be crucial in India’s journey to defend the World Cup.
Squad: MS Dhoni(c/wk), Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Md. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni