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ICC World Cup 2019: A look at India’s ideal replacements for key positions  

ANALYST
Feature
2.53K   //    Timeless

The Indian team players in action against New Zealand
The Indian team players in action against New Zealand

In just a few months from now, the eagerly awaited ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will commence at the home of cricket, England.

With the top 10 ODI teams competing against each other for the most coveted crown, the event, once again, promises to be a delight to watch for every cricket addict. Needless to say, considering the importance of this event, the teams around the world have been working extremely hard to create a strong team worthy of lifting the trophy. After all, winning the ICC World Cup is every cricketer’s dream.

In India, cricket is not just a sport but very close to a religion. Every 4 years, a billion people join hands together hoping for an Indian win at the marquee event.

MS Dhoni gave life to their dream after a long wait of 28 years, when he conquered the world with his team and won the World Cup back in 2011. It has been 8 years since then and now, once again, the entire nation is craving more World Cup glory.

Over the past few years, the selectors has worked very closely with India’s A and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid along with Indian captain Virat Kohli to identify the exceptional talent and build a strong and well-balanced team for the big event. As desired, they have successfully created a pool of players that the team management can choose from based on current form, fitness levels and most importantly, their requirement to the team.

By the looks of the things, the preferred playing XI is quite settled. However, the team management still has to select four more players to complete the squad for the World Cup.

Considering the possibilities of unexpected injury and poor run of form, they may look to carry along a few ideal replacements for their key slots. 

3rd Opener 

Rohit and Shikhar stitching yet another important partnership
Rohit and Shikhar stitching yet another important partnership

Over the past few years, both Indian openers - the classy Rohit Sharma and flamboyant Shikhar Dhawan - have been in the form of their lives, scoring runs at will against every opponent around the world. Their excellent performance has been one of the key reasons for India’s success in the limited overs formats.

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Having said that, they might just find themselves in some trouble against the swinging deliveries on bouncy pitches. Hence, the team management may opt for a backup third opener to provide solidity in case of a poor run of form.

Options available: KL Rahul or Ajinkya Rahane 

2nd Wicketkeeper

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

This mega tournament will most likely see an end to the wonderful cricketing career of the legend MS Dhoni.

Considering his experience and expertise, especially behind the stumps, it would be very difficult for any player to step into his shoes. However, considering his recent hamstring injury and the age factor, the selectors would want to carry a backup second wicketkeeper to avoid any mishap during the long event.

Options available: Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik

2nd pace bowling all-rounder

Hardik Pandya sprinting through
Hardik Pandya sprinting through

After a very long while, Team India have discovered a genuine pace all-rounder in the form of Hardik Pandya. Needless to say, his presence gives the team some much-needed balance.

Knowing the importance of a pace bowling all-rounder in Team India’s success, the selectors may want to select a backup for the intense tournament on the responsive wickets in England.

Option available: Vijay Shankar

4th pace bowler

Jasprit Bumrah leading the way
Jasprit Bumrah leading the way

For the very first time in the history of Indian cricket, the pace bowling unit together appears extremely lethal. With new bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah accompanied by a disciplined Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Swing King Mohammed Shami, the pace battery looks geared up to demolish any batting order around the world. 

The Indian team management, however, is likely to select a 4th pacer to strengthen the bench strength, especially considering the workload involved in the long tournament.

Options available: Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma

3rd spin bowler

The spin duo celebrating their success
The spin duo celebrating their success

With the emergence of leg spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, India's spin department has started doing wonders again. 'KulCha' have been truly remarkable, especially in the middle overs, and have not let any team settle down.

Considering their impact on India’s success, both of them are favorites to feature in the playing XI. However, since they do not chip in much with the bat, they might just be replaced with an all-rounder on a pitch that doesn't assist turn.

Option available: Ravindra Jadeja or Ravichandran Ashwin

Overall, India are in a good space for now, with their core team very much settled. The team management have to now complete the 15-member squad with the suitable replacements for the key spots.

Without a doubt, the XI will be shuffled around based on the requirements during the tournament. Therefore, the choice of replacements will play a very important role in the success of the Men in Blue in the most important cricketing event of this year.

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