Meet the Men in Blue: India announces its cricket World Cup 2019 squad

On Monday, April 15, India announced its team for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. The country will now be represented in the tournament with 15 men lead by Captain Virat Kohli and Vice Captain Rohit Sharma.

Around 3 pm today, the All-India Senior Selection Committee met in Mumbai to discuss and select the men who will represent India at the world cup held in England and Wales between May 30 to July 14, 2019.

The deadline for the team announcement was April 23. New Zealand and Australia have also declared their world cup teams.

Who is on the team?

The Committee announced names of 15 men who will make up the Indian cricket team for the International Cricket Council World Cup 2019.

Chairman of the selection committee MSK Prasad said, “In the team, we have the luxury of 7 bowlers. We have covered all the bases and this is one of the most balanced Indian sides for the World Cup”.

Virat Kohli will be captain and Rohit Sharma will be vice captain. Other members of the squad are Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohd Shami.

Former captain of the Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also a part of the 2019 squad as a wicketkeeper.

How the Indian world cup team was decided

Reports say the selectors ranked players based on experience rather than “x-factor” to ensure a balanced squad. The team is comprised of five specialist batsman, two wicket-keepers, three fast bowlers, three all-rounders, and two specialist spinners.

Prasad said that the team will experiment with wrist spinners like Chahal and Yadav. This world cup will also be Rahul and Shankar’s international debut.

The ICC also said that Virat Kohli topped the batting rankings, followed by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. These three players were already predicted to be the opening three batsman.

“The No. 4  position has been constant, chopping change… Everyone hopes Kohli and Sharma click, but in case they don’t, does India have the backing to crawl out of that?” asked former Editor-in-chief of Wisen India Dileep Premachandran.

The fourth batsman position commonly called “No. 4” was still up in the air. Shankar has been chosen for that slot after much deliberation.

While Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini will be back up pacers, Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu have not been slated on the team at all.

Karthik was chosen as second wicketkeeper in Pant’s place. Prasad explained that Karthik or Pant would only come into the picture if Dhoni is injured. However, they said because wicketkeeping is an important skill, they decided to select Karthik.

English cricket commentator Michael Vaughan said that India was “bonkers” not to slate Pant. Former international cricketer turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar added that Pant being excluded was surprising and a sign of the selectors’ inconsistency.

Former captain of the Indian cricket team and chairman of the selection committee Kris Srikkanth also expressed surprise at Pant’s snub.

Premachandran also said that Pant will be a major player for India over the next few years. “I’m surprised he wasn’t given more opportunities because he is a game changer… Not many have the explosive ability to win a game in five or six balls.”

Retired cricketer Aakash Chopra said the team’s lineup was “interesting” and that he hopes it works.

India has won the world cup twice— once under former captain Kapil Dev in 1983 and again under MS Dhoni’s captaincy in 2011.

India is now preparing to meet South Africa on the field at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, on June 5. India will also face off against Pakistan later on June 16.

Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius

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