Hyderabad: With the ICC World Cup scheduled to be held in England, where the bowlers could be a deciding factor given the bowler-friendly conditions, there is a lot of focus on pace unit in all team selections.
When the Indian selectors meet in Mumbai, all eyes will be on the five wise men to select the best bowling unit among available resources. Jasprit Bumrah has been the best white ball bowler for India since a few years and his selection is an automatic one. He has been in prime form in the ongoing IPL as well taking 8 wickets with an economy of 7.01. Bengal bowler Mohammed Shami too is set to get the nod given his experience and the kind of form he has shown over the years.
If the matches against New Zealand and Australia ODI series are any indication, the selectors may not tinker with the bowling unit much. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting a constant look in during the Australian series, he is likely to be the third bowler. However, he has been going through a rough patch in the ongoing IPL. Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody came to his defence saying that when you are not playing regularly at the international level for India, it can be rusty for a bowler. “When you are not playing consistent cricket, they lack that rhythm. When you are on the sidelines, not getting match conditions, you do lose that rhythm. Bhuvi is going to get better and better as this tournament unfolds, and it’s good news for India as well,” he said on Saturday. Bhuvi’s experience and his ability to swing the ball in English conditions boost his chances.
Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar are vying for the batting all-rounders spot while Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are the trusted spinners in captain Virat Kohli’s set-up. But if the conditions are dry in the English summer, Ravindra Jadeja, who is a handy batsman and a brilliant fielder, may also get a look in.
If the selectors are keen on an extended pace unit and opt for a fourth seamer, there are quite a few options available for the MSK Prasad-led panel. While the experience of Umesh Yadav provides them a good option, the youngsters like Siddharth Kaul, Mohd Siraj, Khaleel Ahmad along with domestic bowlers like Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar provide them with plenty of options. Siraj, who played three T20 internationals for India, made his ODI debut against Australia in Adelaide but failed to impress. Kaul too made his ODI and T20 debuts for India in the last one year but failed to cement his place. The 21-year-ol Khaleel has better chances for being the left-arm pacer who can provide a variety to the attack. He has 11 ODI wickets under his belt in 8 matches. Chahar has been impressive for his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings so far with 10 wickets.
On the whole, it was more or less a settled bowling unit. Unless the selectors think otherwise, there may not be any surprises when the team is announced on Monday.
Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (Vice-Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar.