The Indian squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy 2017 was finally announced after threats from BCCI to pull out.
India will begin their title defence on June 4 with a game against their arch-rivals Pakistan.
The Indian squad has as much as 9 players from the victorious 2013 campaign.
The selectors also have gone for experience rather than youth this time by including Yuvraj in the squad.
Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
The recall of Yuvraj Singh was a surprise. Yuvraj had made a comeback to the ODI side earlier this year against England and scored a century in one of the games. Yuvraj hasn’t played too many ODIs for India over the last few years and has mostly been part of the T20 sides.
The inclusion of Dinesh Karthik also is a surprise as he hasn’t been a part of Indian ODI scheme of things over the past year or so. So some strange choices this time from the selectors.
The absence of Suresh Raina means that India are short of power hitters in the XI. MS Dhoni isn’t a power hitter anymore by his own admission and has been batting up the order in the recent games.
The team has only six specialist batsmen, so it will be a battle between Kedar Jadhav and Ajinkya Rahane for that one batting spot.
It will also be interesting if India will field both Ashwin and Jadeja as they did in 2013 or will be tempted to go with Pandya in the X1 as a pace bowling all-rounder.
So there will be lots of questions in Virat Kohli’s mind ahead of the first game.
The bowling unit though is as good as it gets according to Indian standards. Ishant Sharma misses out this time but again he hasn’t been in great form in the recent years. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav in all probability will be taking the new ball and Bumrah will be playing as the first change.
Even though Mohammed Shami is India’s best limited overs pacer, he is coming back after a long injury layoff and the few games he played in the IPL, he did not look anywhere near his best.
So the bowling attack gives a kind of a settled look with Jaspreet Bumrah surprisingly leading the pack.
The Indian squad is kind of a hit and miss and Virat would have to make the best use of the resources at his disposal.
India’s Probable X1 in their first game against Pakistan
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jaspreet Bumrah
Rahane misses out as the team already has Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli who bat in a similar way to Rahane.
Having Jadhav in the middle order gives the batting line up some spark in the slog overs.
Hardik Pandya also misses out as India’s strength has always been their spinners and India should play both Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja in the X1.
India might still swap one of the spinners for Pandya if the pitch has a bit in it for the pacers.
Mohammed Shami also misses out as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yadav and Bumrah have been in great form with the ball.
It will be difficult for India to replicate their 2013 success but again if the pitches are anywhere close to what they encountered in the last edition anything can happen.