The mega cricketing circus, the 2019 Cricket World Cup, starts from 30th May and the ten best teams from round the globe are to participate in the round-robin phase out of which only four will make out to the knock-out stages. Hosts England and 2011 champions India are the favorites to lift the trophy in this edition, however, Australia and New Zealand also have an outside chance to win the tournament.
Considering the balanced side that India possesses at their disposal along with their recent performances in away tours, one can expect India to surely have a shot to win the World Cup for the 3rd time. Below we list out the reasons as to why India are favorites to win the World Cup:
The Indian squad selected for the World Cup is a well-balanced side. The team boasts of quality top-order batsmen in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who scored the bulk of runs for their team. The team further possesses genuine all-rounders with the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Shankar who can all bat and bowl and provide the team with crucial options when in need.
Further, the team has world-class spinners who can take wickets at crucial junctures and provide the team with important breakthroughs. Whenever a partnership troubles the Indians, the duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav step up and provide a breakthrough for their team which helps India to claw their way back into the match.
Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami represent the daunting pace-attack that the Indians possess. While Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit are regulars and provide India with early-breakthroughs, they are also very economical while bowling in death overs that make India one of the best bowling sides in the slog overs. Further, India can play Mohammed Shami to extract the bounce from a pitch if the conditions require that.
Since the tournament is being played in the months of June-July, one can expect India to be the most favored side. With the weather conditions being almost subcontinent-esque, the pitches in England will also dry up and be flat tracks which the Indians are well acquainted with. Further, the pitches might also support the spinners and thus India, with their world-class quality spinners, will be a threat for other teams who often struggle to negate the potential impact of the slow bowlers.
Recent experience of playing in England
The Indian team has toured England twice in the last couple of years with almost the core members of the World Cup squad. In 2017, they reached the finals of the Champions Trophy having won four matches out of the five they played, thus winning 80% of their matches in England. Again in 2018, they toured England for a full-tour wherein they lost the 3-match ODI series 2-1.
Although they played with a strong squad in 2017, in 2018 integral members such as Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were absent from the team due to injury and yet India managed to compete strongly against the hosts. Thus, this experience of playing in England and with success further solidifies India’s chances at the World Cup.
The most lethal weapon that India possess in their ranks is their former skipper MS Dhoni. Even though he isn’t leading the side from the front, yet he manages the Indian team from behind, advising the bowlers where to bowl and also helps the skipper in field placements.
His experience also comes in handy when the Indian batsmen struggle with the bat as he rotates the strike without playing risky shots and thus stabilizes the innings to post a healthy total. Also, while chasing a mammoth target with high required run rate, he can play explosive shots at will and can suddenly change the game in India’s favor. Thus, with Dhoni in the team, India are expected to be dominant at World Cups.
Presence of the world’s best batsman in the squad
India has Virat Kohli, the world’s best batsman in their squad. Having amassed 10843 runs at a breath-taking average of 59.58 in ODI’s, Kohli has often been termed as a modern-day legend by former cricketers. With 49 fifties and 41 centuries in 219 innings, Virat is the sole reason why India has dominated International cricket in recent years. His ability to play innings as per its requirement without playing any risky shots has been the reason why he has been so successful.
Presence of the world’s best bowler in the squad
Jasprit Bumrah is arguably the world’s best bowler at the moment. Having dominated in South Africa, England, and Australia, Bumrah will be expected to dominate teams in England and help India lay their hands on the silverware. He often provides breakthroughs in the early part of the innings, while also helping India break partnership during middle-overs. Further, his searing yorkers in the death overs break the opposition’s momentum to score runs freely and thus he, in the process, often lands up with wickets which reduces the batting team to below par total most of the times.
Keeping all this into consideration, one has to accept that India are the firm favorites to win the tournament. What do you think? Can Virat Kohli and his team achieve what Kapil Dev and his troop did in 1983?