The selection panel retained seven players from the 2015 World Cup squad while seven players will be making their maiden appearance at cricket’s biggest showpiece event.
Here’s a detailed look at player profiles, their recent performances and much more that will help you know your team better ahead of the World Cup.
The flamboyant left-hander will be opening the innings for India in the World Cup. An experienced campaigner in the limited overs format, Dhawan will be playing his second quadrennial event. The top-order batsman, who had an on-and-off 2018 season however has the unique ability of peaking when it comes to the ICC tournaments.The Delhi batsman, who was part of the 2015 WC squad in Australia scored 412 run in eight matches at an average of 51.50 in the mega event. Dhawan has also been part of two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments (2013 and 2017 in England), where he averages a staggering 77.88 in 10 matches with a total of 701 runs. With England undoubtedly being his favorite destination when it comes to scoring runs, a lot of fireworks can be expected from the dynamic southpaw.
One of the most destructive batsmen of the modern era, Rohit Sharma will be Dhawan’s opening partner in the World Cup. On any given day, Rohit can take down any bowling unit in the world and that has been proven by the Mumbai batsman time and again. With three double centuries in the 50-over format, Rohit will be vital during India’s campaign in the tournament. Playing his second World Cup, the swashbuckling right-hander, once again will have the responsibility of giving the team a solid start alongside Dhawan. Rohit had a memorable 2015 edition, where he amassed 330 runs in eight matches that included one century and a couple of half-centuries at an average of over 47. In the 2019 World Cup edition, Rohit will also have the added responsibility of being the team’s vice captain.
Batting powerhouse Virat Kohli will be leading India’s campaign in the 2019 World Cup. One of the modern greats of the game, Kohli has been on a record-breaking spree with his bat for the past three years. Currently the World No.1 ODI batsman, the Delhi batsman will aim to take his stupendous form into the World Cup. Since taking over the captaincy reigns from MS Dhoni in the limited-overs format in 2017, Kohli is yet to lay his hands on an ICC Trophy as captain. With an experienced and talented squad at his disposal, the 30-year-old, this time will look to add the World Cup title to his cabinet. Playing his third World Cup, Kohli has already been a part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad but has had a par outing with the bat, so far in the tournament. With 587 runs in 17 innings at an average of 41.92, Kohli has managed only a couple of hundreds — 100 not out vs Bangladesh in 2011 and 107 vs Pakistan in 2015 in Adelaide in the World Cup. The ‘run-machine’ in the recent past has been making hundreds for fun and with the red-hot form Kohli has been in white-ball cricket, a record-tumbling performance can be expected from the batting maestro.
Raw talent, terrific hand-eye coordination and the audacity to decimate any bowling attack have been the major strengths of KL Rahul in his ODI career so far. Although the Karnataka batsman has only been part of 14 ODI matches so far, an in form Rahul can be extremely dangerous. Rahul’s inclusion gives the Indian team the perfect balance in the top-order. Rahul will be boarding the flight for a World Cup for the first time.
In the twilight of his international career, the 37-year-old MS Dhoni will go into the 2019 World Cup as the senior most member of the Indian team. Having already achieved almost everything as the captain, the heartthrob of the entire nation, Dhoni, this time will go into the tournament as a wicket-keeper batsman. However, there is no denying the fact that Dhoni will be the go-to man for Kohli in crunch situations where the inputs from the strategic master have been phenomenal. The cool, calm and composed demeanour of the veteran has on numerous occasions helped the team get out of trouble. The ICC World T20 in 2007 (T20I) and the 2011 ICC ODI World Cup brought out the best in the legend. A match winning knock of 91 not out in the 2011 World Cup final is one of the classic examples of the maturity and girt with which Dhoni has been taking India over the finishing line. 507 runs in 20 matches (17 innings) at an average of over 42 is how Dhoni has so far fared in the World Cup. In the past one year Dhoni has had a fair share of ups and downs in his international career. But as the ‘best finisher of the game’ takes the World Cup stage probably for the last time, Dhoni will look for a final hurrah in the 50-over format.
His international debut (2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I tournament) was not a memorable one, but Vijay Shankar has shown tremendous improvement as a cricketer since then. In an ODI career that has only 9 matches so far, Shankar with his mature performances forced his way into the World Cup squad. Shankar is still to register a 50-plus score in the 50-over format but the intent that the Tamil Nadu youngster has shown has been exceptional. A reliable batsman in the middle, who can chip in with a quick spell makes Shankar a perfect fit in the Indian line-up as the second fast bowling all-rounder after Hardik.
The world witnessed DK version 2.0 during the 2018 Nidahas Trophy final vs Bangladesh (T20I competition) when he smacked an unbeaten 29 off just eight balls including a last-ball six steering India to a memorable win. Since then, Karthik has carried the reputation of being a capable finisher in the team. The ability to remain calm under extreme pressure and taking the team across the finishing line from any situation has helped Karthik make the cut in the World Cup squad. After a decent run in 2018, where he scored 167 runs at an average of 41.75, Karthik has had a below par outing in 2019. 75 runs in five innings so far, coupled with the rise of Rishabh Pant, somewhat dented Karthik’s hopes of a second World Cup. But the selectors have opted to go with the experienced batsman and the Tamil Nadu wicket-keeper batsman will be looking to prove his mettle on the World’s biggest stage.
The pocket-size dynamite from Pune has delivered when required with both bat and ball for the Indian team in the last year or so. Kedar Jadhav has been an integral part of the ODI setup for a while now. Runs in the middle order and an uncanny wicket-taking capability with an unconventional action is what Jadhav brings to the table. 176 runs and a couple of wickets in the home series against Australia — which India lost 2-3 — has been the latest set of performances from the batting all-rounder. With Jadhav in the team, Virat Kohli always has an option of an extra spinner, who can chip in with wickets at crucial junctures. To go with that, his ability to pace his innings according to the match situation makes Jadhav a formidable player in the middle.This trip to the World Cup will be a first for Jadhav.
In a short ODI career spanning just over two and a half years so far, Hardik Pandya has made a huge impact in Indian cricket. The 25-year-old from Gujarat is the most talked about cricketer as far as the younger lot is concerned. Hardik’s moment of recognition was his 76-run blitzkrieg which he produced against Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final. Since then, Hardik has not looked back and has built up a reputation as one of the cleanest strikers in the game. To go with that, wickets in South Africa, England and Australia have made him a reliable bowler, who can trouble any batsman on a given day and give the team a breakthrough when it most needs it. A back injury ruled him out of the Asia Cup in September 2018 which was followed by an off-the-field controversy, pushed Hardik to the sidelines for some time. But there was never any doubt as such about his selection for the World Cup.
A leg spinner who isn’t afraid of getting hit for a six and does not hesitate to toss the ball up to the batsman is what makes Yuzvendra Chahal an ace spinner in the cricket world. A courageous bowler, who chips in with wickets whenever the ball is handed to him has been the reputation Chahal has built up since he burst onto the international scene. Chahal along with his spin twin Kuldeep Yadav currently make up the world’s most lethal spin bowling combination. Chahal has troubled batsmen all around the world and an economy rate of 4.89 says it all for the leggie. A career best bowling figures of 6-42 in Melbourne against Australia to go with two five-wicket hauls in 42 matches makes him a tough nut to crack for the batsmen.
The other half of India’s wrist-spin duo, Kuldeep Yadav’s wicket-taking ability has impressed quite a few around the world. Batsmen on numerous occasions have found the chinaman virtually unplayable. His wicket-taking ability, especially outside the subcontinent (36 wickets in 15 matches in SENA countries) makes Kuldeep another key member in the Indian bowling line-up. He might not be very experienced, but his street-smart approach to bowling, along with Chahal’s support from the other end helps Kuldeep dominate opposition batsmen.
Sidelined from the limited-overs format (July 2017-September 2018) after the arrival of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja came back into the spotlight during India’s successful run in the 2018 Asia Cup, where the left-arm spinner claimed 7 wickets in four matches along with some lusty blows with the bat. Jadeja, since then has been a regular feature in the ODI side and has been part of the series against Australia in Australia and at home and the Windies home series, impressing with both bat and ball. Currently one of the best fielders in the Indian team, Jadeja’s presence on the field has been more than impressive. A bunch of decent performances recently along with the experience of having played in English conditions has helped Jadeja book a berth in the World Cup team. Jadeja’s abilities give India the perfect option of a spinning all-rounder.
All eyes will be on Jasprit Bumrah when he takes the centrestage for the first time in the World Cup. Currently the World No.1 ODI bowler, Bumrah shoulders tremendous responsibility and India’s success will heavily depend on his performance at the quadrennial event. Bumrah, since his debut in January 2016 in Australia has been terrorizing batsmen with his dead-accurate toe-crushing yorkers. A reputation of a bowler, who regularly clocks speeds of over 145 km/hr with an unusual action makes Bumrah one of the world’s most feared bowlers. The death-overs specialist with an impressive economy rate of 4.51 will be spearheading the pace trio that comprise Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami as the other two.
A new-ball bowler with an ability to chip in with wickets in the powerplay overs has been the reputation that Bhuvneshwar Kumar has carried for quite a while now. One of the few bowlers who can swing the ball both ways with great accuracy makes Bhuvneshwar an asset for the team in the World Cup. With the conditions conducive to swing bowling in England, Bhuvneshwar is expected to shine in the World Cup. In the last couple of years, the medium-pacer has also impressed at the death, choking the opposition for runs with his precise line and length. Batsmen have struggled to take on Bhuvneshwar as he brings in all his experience to outwit opponents at the other end of the pitch.
A major issue in his personal life and a failed yo yo test marred the first half of the 2018 season for Mohammed Shami after a successful tour of South Africa. But the medium pacer bounced back with a vengeance and displayed a breathtaking display of old and new ball bowling in red ball cricket in England and Australia. Taking the same momentum into white-ball cricket, Shami has been more lethal than ever since his return to limited-overs cricket. Shami 2.0 has been exceptional and the UP-born Bengal pacer has made his way into the World Cup squad with sheer hard work and dedication. In 11 ODI matches played so far in 2019, Shami’s 19 wickets — that include wickets in ODI series in Australia, New Zealand and India — have impressed quite a few and now he is a vital cog in the Indian pace department. The 2015 edition of the World Cup was a memorable experience for Shami, where he bagged 17 wickets in seven matches at a strike rate of 21.5. A repeat of the performance will be Shami’s main focus as gears up for his second World Cup appearance.