With just under six months left to go for the World Cup, Team India will be looking to get their bowling combinations in place ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa at the Rose Bowl.
To begin with, let’s take a look at the pacers India took to the last World Cup. Their pace attack then comprised of Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami as their primary pacers, with Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also providing options in the 15 man squad. Yadav, Sharma and Shami were India’s first choice trio in all bar one game against the UAE, which saw Kumar play ahead of the Moradabad pacer.
Fast forward to 2019, and Shami looks like the only member of that 2015 trio who will be on board the plane to England. Virat Kohli’s men are currently in Australia where they are playing three ODI’S before departing to New Zealand for five ODI’s, followed by a return home series in the same format against Australia next month.
In the last year or so, India’s first choice attack has usually two pacers, an all rounder providing the third seam option and two spinners.
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are almost certainties in the Playing XI. Kumar’s form has been a bit iffy of late, but his ability with the bat and Kohli’s desire to avoid a long tail should see the latter get the nod. The third spot appears to be a toss up between Mohammed Shami, left arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed and Mohammed Siraj, with the former’s experience and consistency likely to see him get the nod.
Youngster Khaleel has primarily been given a run of games because he adds variety to the attack, being a quick left arm pacer, but one gets the feeling this World Cup will come too early for him.
Siraj was given a chance in Adelaide against Australia, and was taken for plenty. His record also seems to suggest he’ll do a better job with the red ball rather than the white one.
Hardik Pandya is currently suspended from the national team owing to his comments on a chat show back home, but one reckons he’ll definitely be back before the World Cup. The all-rounder will definitely be a part of Virat Kohli’s plans as he lends balance to Team India with both ball and bat.
The likely spinners will be Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja. An example of Pandya’s importance is being seen in the current series- his absence has forced Chahal out of the XI and made India play Jadeja, the better batsman, in his place.
Kohli’s first choice bowling lineup will probably be Pandya, Bhuvi, Chahal, Kuldeep and Bumrah. Shami could play if they want an extra pace option.
Ravi Ashwin who is India’s senior bowler in tests finds himself out of the contention in the 50 over format as both Kuldeep and Chahal have overtaken him. The likes of Mohit and Umesh, who were in the last World Cup, are unlikely to feature unless there’s a major injury crisis of sorts.