What’s the story?
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has revealed the side he will pick to represent India for the upcoming Champions Trophy. While most of the usual suspects were included in the squad, the 36-year old also omitted quite a few prominent names while choosing his side.
“I think if KL Rahul is not completely fit, India will not pick him. It is a big loss but India have got replacements. I think Rohit Sharma needs to play and open for India. And then I think the selectors will go for Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane’s technique if the ball is swinging is conducive to England. No brainer at number three, Virat Kohli as captain. I think Yuvraj has earned his place (at number four), he is experienced”, Clarke told India Today.
He added, “I would go with MS Dhoni at number five. He is experienced and he’s still the best keeper in the Indian team. At number six, I would pick Manish Pandey and then Kedar Jadhav at number seven. Ashwin and Jadeja will be my two spinners and my four quicks would be Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.”
Even as most other nations have announced their squads for the Champions Trophy, India is yet to do so. Amidst an ongoing tussle within the ICC over the new revenue sharing model, BCCI are set to miss the deadline on April 25th for naming the team.
The heart of the matter
Even though Shikhar Dhawan was the Player of the Tournament during the previous edition of the Champions Trophy, Clarke selected Ajinkya Rahane as Rohit Sharma's opening partner due to the Mumbaikar's superior technique against the moving ball.
Among the other omissions from his side were all rounder Hardik Pandya who is likely to get the nod from the Indian selectors. Due to the emergence of Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, the experienced Suresh Raina also did not find a place in the former Australian skipper’s squad.
Michael Clarke’s Indian Team: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami
The 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy is set to take place in England & Wales from June 1st. India will open their campaign in Group B on June 4th against arch-rivals Pakistan in Edgbaston. South Africa and Sri Lanka are the other two teams in their pool.
Unlike the official squad which is set to contain 15 members, Clarke has picked only 13 players for his side. A fast bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya and a third spinner in Kuldeep Yadav should complete the squad.