2011 World Cup heroes who are likely to miss the World Cup 2019
It was 2nd April 2011 when cricket lovers across the globe remained on the edge of their seats for a major part of the day. The agenda was simple -- to witness the coronation of India as the world champions in the ICC World Cup.
Post 11.30pm, one shot went through the middle of the bat and it silenced the world for a few moments. It was MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara that won the match and more importantly the World Cup for India.
The shot went for a massive six. The last sentences of Ravi Shastri’s commentary still reverberate in the ears of every Indian which said, “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the World Cup after 28 years."
In a cricket-fanatic nation like India, nothing gets as big as winning the Cricket World Cup. The celebrations continued in India for the next few days. All players of the 16-member team became national heroes and Indians simply considered them as living gods for giving them so much happiness and pride -- something which the country could boast about for the next 4 years.
As time passed by, some of the stalwarts in that gold standard Indian team chose to bid adieu to the game. Some of the junior cricketers went on to become legends while some of them, despite their star-studded careers, continued to remain out of favor.
In this edition, we are going to look at some of the cricketers from the 2011 World Cup-winning team who are yet to retire from the game but are likely to remain out of favor to play the World Cup 2019.
#1 Yuvraj Singh
Adjourned as the ‘Man of the Series,’ Yuvraj Singh not only battled against the top teams to win the World Cup for India but also against the scariest demon called cancer. Immediately, after the World Cup, Yuvraj Singh had to undergo massive chemotherapy in the United States to find a cure for his lung cancer.
He made a series of comebacks in the ODI and T20 teams but never found his golden nick with the bat or the ball. His career-best score of 150 off 127 balls came against England in 2017 but that knock could only safeguard his position for 2 more tournaments. In one of his recent interviews, Yuvraj Singh clearly expressed his desire to feature in the World Cup 2019 and said he is going to try his level best to make a comeback to the national side purely on the merit of his domestic performances.
Last represented: Vs West Indies in June 2017
#2 Ravichandran Ashwin
When Ravichandran Ashwin was axed from the limited-overs format, he was ranked as the no. 1 bowler and all-rounder in the ICC Test rankings. The team of selectors found a more lethal combination and chose two wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to replace Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the white-ball format. Post that, Ashwin tried to bring a lot of variations in his bowling.
In the 2017 IPL, he was seen bowling leg spin on a number of occasions. Cricket pundits ridiculed this move and Ashwin was back to what he does best – off spin. Amongst the whole lot, Ravichandran Ashwin can be considered as the most unlucky cricketer who did all things right but still remained out of favor. Although he is still a Test regular for India, his fitness levels have taken a hit with a series of hip injuries.
Last represented: Vs West Indies in June 2017
#3 Suresh Raina
For a very long time from 2010 to 2016, Suresh Raina remained one of the regular middle-order batsmen for India in the limited format of the game. His match-saving act against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup is still reckoned as one of the finest ODI knocks.
As the team of selectors started rebuilding a team for the 2019 World Cup, a number of players like Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayadu, Shreyas Iyer and others came into the limelight and eventually Raina found himself out of the team. He made a comeback in the England tour of 2018 but couldn’t hold on to his spot due to lack of consistency in his batting.
Last represented: vs England in July 2018
#4 Harbhajan Singh
He is probably the only player who debuted under Mohammad Azharuddin and hasn’t retired from the game. After making his debut as a teenage spin sensation way back in 1998, Harbhajan featured in 3 World Cups till 2011.
The 2019 edition could have well been his last one. Harbhajan Singh made way for Ravichandran Ashwin and remained out of favor in the 2015 World Cup too. He made sporadic appearances in the national team in 2015 and 2016 but couldn’t cement his place due to stiff competition from other spinners. At 38, Harbhajan Singh, after having accomplished so much as a cricketer, is probably waiting to retire on a high note and that means wearing the Indian jersey for one last time.
Last represented: vs South Africa in October 2015
#5 Yusuf Pathan
A fiery all-rounder, who provided the much-needed depth to the Indian batting line-up, Yusuf Pathan had his dream run in the team from 2008 to 2012. Post that, with the emergence of players like Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandra Ashwin, who turned out to be better spin bowlers, Yusuf Pathan was included in the squad but only found himself in the bench of extra players.
He represented India in a few matches after the 2011 triumph but none of his performances were commendable enough to find him a permanent place in the team. No doubt Yusuf Pathan was one of the best hitters but he could never become an impact player; the kind of value Hardik Pandya brings into the team. With the current brigade of players like Krunal Pandya and Hanuma Vihari, Yusuf is not likely to be in contention of the selectors for the World Cup 2019.
Last represented: vs Pakistan in March 2012