The tale of India’s World Cups splits itself into two halves, with the said point of inflection being the turn of this millennium. Before the first digit of the year turned to ‘2’, they were the upstarts. They did punch way above their weight in 1983, buoyed by the presence of a talismanic Kapil Dev at their helm. But they were in a world where West Indies — and then Australia — were the rulers of the dominion.
The second half of this narrative begins with the time when a new world order was starting to be written under the watch of Sourav Ganguly. Even though there were setbacks on the coaching front, the men who would shape India’s destiny in 2011 — Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in particular — were in the process of being moulded to become who they would be. And when Dhoni sealed it with a six, India had asserted in style that they too had risen to the status of a superpower.
2015 can perhaps be looked upon as a phase of a new transition — not many expected India to make it to the semifinals. But fast forward four years, and those Trans-Tasman seeds seemed to have bloomed. India go in with the world’s best batsman, best opening pair, best wrist-spinning combine, and the best pace troika. They’re not the underdogs anymore. They’re strong favourites.
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik.
Head coach: Ravi Shastri
Since the last WC, India’s top three have contributed the most number of runs among any other country participating in the mega event. The trio of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli have combined to notch up 10,944 runs from 207 innings at an average of 60.8 and a strike rate of 97.04.
Bowling has never been one of India’s strongest suits, but this edition is different with both pacers and spinners shining in the recent ODI encounters. Jasprit Bumrah is perched on top of the ICC rankings while the wrist spin pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have accounted for 153 wickets, the most any spin pair has taken in the last two years.
four has been India’s 13 for quite a while now. With pretty much everyone except the team’s bowlers having been tried out at two-drop, no player still seems to have made that slot his own. IPL notwithstanding, Vijay Shankar seems to have won his three-dimensional battle, but it still remains to be seen if he will be the one taking up that particular India mantle. As many have suggested, India could also go for fluid, as-per-situation batting order. But as of the moment, India go in with a big No 4-shaped hole to England.
A member of the 2011 winning squad, the 30-year-old is set to play in his third World Cup, where he will captain the side. Lot of India’s fortunes depend on him as he has evolved into an all-time great in the limited-overs format.
Making his World Cup debut. Can bowl above 140 clicks and combined with his unusual action, the 25-year-old has been terrorising batsmen. His toe-crushing yorkers and ability to deliver at the death have made him the numero uno ODI bowler.