India's Champions Trophy Squad Questions

India celebrating victory in the 2013 Champions Trophy
©REUTERS
 

India’s Champions Trophy Squad Questions

With the Champions Trophy squad to be named soon, here is look at the some of the questions that the selectors need think about

Who partners Rohit Sharma at the top?

With KL Rahul still recovering from his surgery, the question mark remains as to who will partner Rohit at the top. Ajinkya Rahane could not utilize his opportunities presented to him in the absence of Rohit and probably won’t be the first choice opener. Gautam Gambhir managed 166 runs at 33.2 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy while Shikhar Dhawan scored 99 runs at 19.8. Unless one of the two has an outstanding IPL season, the opening partner remains uncertain.

Will Dinesh Karthik make a comeback?

Dinesh Karthik has had an outstanding season with the bat and was the top scorer in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 607 runs at an average of 86.71 and a strike rate of 102. He has also looked in decent touch in the IPL and has opened for India in the past. His international record looks pretty average but he is in the form of his life and probably deserves another shot.

Is Rishabh Pant ready for international cricket?

Rishabh Pant may not have had a great Vijay Hazare Trophy (159 runs at an average of 26.5) but set the Ranji Trophy alight with 972 runs at an average of 81 and a strike rate of 107.28. He has also shown tremendous maturity and skill in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils and can take apart any bowling attack. With Suresh Raina out of favor, there might be an opportunity for Pant to break into the team.

Who fills the fourth fast bowler’s spot?

With Mohammed Shami fit and bowling again, you would assume he would walk back into the squad to partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav. Virat Kohli has always been a big fan of Shami and he has always been one of his go-to bowlers. Shardul Thakur has been waiting in the ranks and picked up 16 wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the third highest in the tournament.

Axar Patel, Shahbaz Nadeem or Yuzvendra Chahal for the third spinner?

Axar Patel has had a brilliant start to the IPL and so has Shahbaz Nadeem. However, Nadeem was also impressive in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 15 wickets from eight games at an economy rate of 4.11 and an average of 18. While Axar has international experience, Nadeem is yet to play for India. Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal also have an outside chance should India look for a leg spinner. 

Probable CT Squad – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul*, Virat Kohli (c), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

*KL Rahul’s selection is subject to fitness