India Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Akshar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny
India are persisting with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma as their opening pair in ODI cricket but I feel that Rahane should open with Rohit as Dhawan is out of form. Kohli should return to his strong point, that is number 3 so that he can get maximum number of deliveries to face. Rayudu, Raina and Dhoni can follow Kohli, the trio all good finishers. Two out of Axar Patel/ Ravindra Jadeja/ R Ashwin can occupy slot 7 and 8. The openers must make sure that they do not loose early wickets and lay a strong platform for the likes of Kohli, Raina and Dhoni. Kohli must back his natural instincts and come in at number 3.
Rohit is known to start very slowly and if he gets out early then India are often in trouble as he wastes many balls with low score. Kohli and Raina are not in very promising form in the ODI Tri Series in Australia which does not augur well for India. The lower order must also buckle down and try to score as much as possible to give the bowlers a challenging total to defend.
Rating - 7.5/10
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is known to get good swing with the new ball and he must make early inroads. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav must bowl with pace but they must also tighten up their game and not give away too many loose deliveries which takes the pressure off the opposition. The strength of India is spin and they must stick to it. India should play two out of Axar, Ashwin and Jadeja and must not be scared to open with spin just to take the opposition by surprise.
The Indian bowling is their weakest suit and it starts with their fast bowlers, they are prone to leak easy runs and rarely pick up early wickets. The spinners are also not consistent and often blow hot and cold. MSD also has to take a fair share of blame as he is adamant in using part timers a lot which takes the pressure completely off the batsmen and gives them breathing space.
Rating - 6/10
Indian fielding has improved by leaps and bounds since the past few years with the influx of young fielders like Rahane, Kohli, Raina, Jadeja and Rohit making the ground fielding top notch.
The Indian catching though still leaves a lot to be desired and it is an important aspect of the game that must be worked on so that they do not land themselves in a hole.
Rating - 7.5/10
I am very skeptical of the chances that India have this time around given their recent history of being abysmally poor in foreign conditions. Though we do have a slight advantage as we play all our matches in Australia and have been down under for a considerable period of time, thus giving the team ample time to get used to the conditions. it will be a huge tick mark for Dhoni if he can lead India to a victory in consecutive World Cup Finals and he will then probably be regarded as one of the all time great captains by even his critics!