ICC Cricket World Cup - India SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat
The 21st century has seen the Indian cricket team go from a talented bunch of players who have graduated into a team which is consistent and a force to reckon with, in ICC events.
Starting from 2003, India reinvented themselves during the World Cup and ended as the runners-up, beaten by a way superior Australian side. The 2007 World Cup came as a damper as India were knocked out buy Bangladesh, which broke a billion hearts all at once. India then hosted the 2011 World Cup and became the first country to win the final on home soil.
Quite similar to 2003, India were struggling to dish out consistent performances in 2015 but lifted their game at the showpiece event and reached the semi-finals, beaten again by Australia who were far better on the day. The 2019 World Cup has arrived with India being in pretty decent rhythm and are tipped as one of the contenders for the title along with England.
Within a couple of years, Jasprit Bumrah has become the go to bowler for Team India. There were a lot of questions raised about his action and how that would affect his longevity when Bumrah first burst on to the scene. Defying all odds, Bumrah has risen up and brought the cricketing world to acknowledge his genius.
The slinger is equally good with the new ball and in the middle overs and is exceptional at the death. His ten overs are a bank for skipper Virat Kohli and the 23-year-old will have to make a major contribution if India have to harbour chances of winning the tournament.
India's top three in Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are gigantic names in world cricket and the three would probably make the list for the top 10 contemporary ODI batsmen.
The opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma complements each other very well. While Rohit likes to take some time before making a move on, Dhawan does not mind going after the bowlers from ball one. Once Rohit gets set, he has the ability to quickly make up for the balls consumed and scores daddy hundreds. His three double hundreds are a testament to this fact. Dhawan also has a knack of raising the bar in multinational tournaments.
The duo is followed by Virat Kohli, probably the best limited-overs batsman that the world has ever seen. His record, particularly while chasing, is exceptional and the skipper has already scored 24 centuries while chasing.
India's top three have been exceptional over the past few years. It is part of the reason that the middle order hardly gets to face a lot of balls, which is why the team has been struggling to zero down on its number four ever since the 2015 World Cup.
After auditioning a number of players, it looked as if Ambati Rayudu would be the man for the job after he won the trust of the team management. However, the selectors threw a wildcard in the form of Vijay Shankar. Shankar is a gifted cricketer but does not have the experience at the big stage. He also struggled in the recently concluded IPL.
The number six slot will probably be taken by Kedar Jadhav who is another batsman who needs game time under his belt. Despite MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya in the mix, India's middle order does not inspire confidence of consistently dishing out of 350 and more, which they will require given the belters in England.
It seems as if Hardik Pandya is at the brink of something extraordinary. The all-rounder took his game to another level, playing for the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2019. Although his bowling remains work in progress, he has grown by leaps and bounds as a a finisher. The all-rounder scored at a strike rate of close to 200 in the IPL and has the capability of turning the match on its head.
On the flat surfaces in England, where the ball hardly deviates, leg spinners will be the key for the success of any team and India has two of them in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The spinning duo has delivered for the team in the last couple of years. Their claim to fame is that they provide breakthroughs in the middle overs and hence put brakes on the run scoring of the opposition. It will also go in their favour that the team will play against different opponents in every match and hence the possibility of them being found out would be low.
India will start their World Cup campaign against South Africa on May 5. They will then face Australia who are resurgent and with the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith gaining form and Mitchell Starc regaining fitness, they would certainly be a force to reckon with. The match against Australia will be followed by a game against New Zealand. India will then play their fourth match against Pakistan who are unpredictable as always and can give any team a run for their money on a given day.
Hence, all of the team's first four matches would be against tough oppositions. If they lose a couple of them to begin with, the momentum can shift drastically which can turn out to be a great threat in a long tournament such as this.
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik
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