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Is this "REALLY" India's best 15 for the World Cup?

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altThe Indian team heading to Sri Lanka for the World T20 consists of some deserving and some not so deserving cricketers. Either way, 11 of these 15 will take the field in a decadently hideous jersey in a bid to win what was once theirs. Champions of the first WorldT20 in 2007, India haven’t been able to replicate their success in the previous two editions. Back then they were a team of young tykes eager to etch their names in the history of T20 cricket. Now, they are a team of hardened professionals coming off an ODI World Cup victory, out to reclaim lost glory. The competition being held in Sri Lanka augurs well for India, especially since they have been playing there, like almost every day. Here’s a little analysis on what these 15 have done or haven’t done to get selected. Beginning with the batting and bowling potential, which indicates the percentage contribution of each player in the team. Of course this is for the statistically inclined and not for the faint hearted. Read on to know our take on each of the 15 members selected. We pulled no punches and drew no lines. 


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Batsmen:

These are the guys who are going to put runs on the board. Most of the Indian batsmen are pretty good and are ‘supposedly’ excellent players of spin. So murdering attacks in Sri Lanka shouldn’t be too difficult for this lot. That is of course if the right batsmen are selected. Let’s take a look at whose selection is right and who should have been ‘left’ out.

Batting Performance of Indian Batsmen in Twenty20

1. MS Dhoni:

MS Dhoni'Captain Cool' is an automatic selection. His form in one-day cricket and T20s has almost never been an issue. He is what every other wicket keeper in India calls ‘pakadke baitha hai’ meaning a permanent employee as far as Indian cricket is concerned. His last ten T20I innings include six not-outs and he averages almost 30 in IPL 5. So from us, Dhoni’s selection gets a definite ‘double thumbs up’.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  32  30  11  565  48*  29.73  513  110.13  0/0  32/17
Last 10
T20I Inns
 11  10  6  194  48*  48.5  171  113.45  0/0  9/8
IPL 5  19  17  5  357  51*  29.75  278  128.41  0/1  26/9

2. Gautam Gambhir:

MS DhoniAnother ‘double thumbs up’ selection. Gambhir has been India’s savior on many occasions in the recent past that tweets calling him India’s Dark Knight have given him a new name – ‘Gotham’ Gambhir. In his last ten T20I innings he averages 34.5 which is quite good when it comes to T20s. KKR’s triumph in the IPL 5 would not have been possible if it weren’t for Gambhir’s contributions.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  27  26  2  752  75  31.33  610  123.27  0/7  89/9
Last 10
T20I Inns
 10  10  2  276  56*  34.5  216  127.77  0/2  35/1
IPL 5  17  17  1  590  93  36.87  411  143.55  0/6  64/17

3. Virender Sehwag:

MS Dhoni‘See ball, hit ball.’ The Sehwag technique is exactly what is required in this format of the game. Considering his knocks in IPL 5 and the last ten T20I innings he has played, his selection is definitely the right decision. A lot has been written about the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ being a destroyer of bowling attacks. India will be hoping he performs well.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  16  15  0  340  68  22.66  223  152.46  0/2  37/15
Last 10
T20I Inns
 10  10  0  182  64  18.2  111  163.96  0/1  20/9
IPL 5  16  16  1  495  87*  33  307  161.23  0/5  57/19

4. Virat Kohli:

MS DhoniGoing to Sri Lanka without Kohli would have been akin to climbing a coconut tree with no intention of grabbing a coconut. The island nation has become Kohli’s paradise where every flower blossoms for him, no fruit is forbidden and every leaf whispers sweet nothings in his ear. Forget the reams of paper that speak volumes about him and take a look at the numbers.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  10  8  1  208  68  29.71  166  125.3  0/1  27/3
Last 10
T20I Inns
 10  8  1  208  68  29.71  166  125.3  0/1  27/3
IPL 5  16  15  2  364  73*  28  326  111.65  0/2  33/9

5. Suresh Raina:

MS DhoniGive a fat man a cake and he’ll lick the icing off the box as well. Put Suresh Raina in to bat on a sub-continent wicket against the white ball and he’ll score for the number 7 batsman as well. In 8 out of Raina’s previous ten T20I innings, he has scored more than 25. 25 is also his average for IPL 5 – which is his own personal hunting ground where he chews up bowlers and spits out boundaries.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  26  23  4  631  101  33.21  455  138.68  1/3  54/27
Last 10
T20I Inns
 12  10  2  358  72*  44.75  250  143.2  0/2  32/14
IPL 5  19  18  1  441  73  25.94  325  125.69  0/1  36/19

6. Rohit Sharma:

MS DhoniIrrespective of his performance in the IPL and in West Indies, we believe he does not warrant a place in the WC squad. A huge factor in our decision is his recent form and another is the manner in which he has lost his wicket. Also, his average in Sri Lanka is a mere 14.25- quite pathetic for someone who was touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket. If one can select horses for courses, one must also leave horses out on certain courses.Only two centuries to his name points out the obvious - ‘Geoffrey Boycott’s mum could make more runs than him. We at HW can play amazing shots too. The fact that we never connected the ball too often is the only reason we’re not playing international cricket.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  26  20  6  415  79*  29.64  328  126.52  0/4  33/18
Last 10
T20I Inns
 14  10  2  206  79*  25.75  162  127.16  0/2  14/10
IPL 5  17  16  2  433  109*  30.92  342  126.6  1/3  39/18

7. Manoj Tiwary:

MS DhoniGood batsman, might become a decent bowler and a superb fielder. Manoj Tiwary certainly deserves a chance to cement his place in the side. He averaged 26 in IPL5 and gets a ‘thumbs up’ from us.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  2  1  0  15  15  15  17  88.23  0/0  0/0
IPL 5  16  15  5  260  59  26  246  105.69  0/1  21/3


All-rounders:

These are the guys who have the opportunity to exact revenge with the bat once they get thrashed with the ball. In India, searching for this kind is like searching for a needle in a haystack. They seem to have found a couple or so. Let’s take a look at these dual personality cricketers.

Batting & Bowling Performance of Indian allrounders in Twenty20

1. Yuvraj Singh:

YuvrajHis performance not backing his selection is out of the question. He was the man of the tournament in the ODI World Cup and is a classy batsman. The only bone of contention is fitness. Recovering from cancer is no small feat and he hasn’t played much after that. Hence, the decision to include him is clearly an emotional one albeit subject to him proving match fitness. Whether or not he performs against New Zealand or manages to play a few domestic games, he should not be taken to Sri Lanka as part of the 15. A player being deemed unfit mid-way through the tourney is the last thing India would want. Unfortunately the decision seems like an appeasement for an emotional people rather than the right one.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  23  22  4  567  70  31.5  374  151.6  0/5  34/38
Last 10
T20I Inns
 10  10  2  194  60*  24.25  150  129.33  0/1  9/11


Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 12 12 250 327 13 4/19 25.15 7.84 19.2 1/0
Last 10
T20I Inns
10 10 202 278 11 4/19 25.27 8.25 18.3 1/0
IPL 5 16 15 360 465 8 2/46 58.12 7.75 45 0/0

2. Harbhajan Singh:

MS Dhoni‘Thumbs, ring, index and little fingers down’ for this selection. ‘Bhajji’ has done nothing to warrant a place in the squad. Since he was dropped from the Indian team last year his performance in First class cricket reads 3 matches 84 overs 3 wickets while his List A figures are 13 matches 113 overs and 11 wickets. This only shows the lack of depth in the spin department in a country that was once famous for its spinners.

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100/50 4s/6s
T20I  23  10  3  99  21  14.14  82  120.73  0/0  10/4
Last 10
T20I Inns
 23  10  3  99  21  14.14  82  120.73  0/0  10/4
IPL 5  17  11  2  108  33  12  80  135  0/0  14/3


Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 12 12 250 327 13 4/19 25.15 7.84 19.2 1/0
Last 10
T20I Inns
10 10 202 278 11 4/19 25.27 8.25 18.3 1/0
IPL 5 16 15 360 465 8 2/46 58.12 7.75 45 0/0

3. Irfan Pathan:

MS DhoniAnother selection that isn’t too debatable. He has been scoring runs and picking up wickets. In a team of stars, Irfan has quietly gone about completing his comeback. In the recent series against Sri Lanka, signs of him getting back his swing were evident. Selection – ‘thumbs up.’

Format Mat Inn NO Runs HS Avg. BF SR 100s/50s 4s/6s
T20I  18  12  7  133  33*  26.6  106  125.47  0/0  6/6
Last 10
T20I Inns
 14  10  7  102  33*  34  81  125.92  0/0  4/4
IPL 5  17  12  5  176  42*  25.14  126  139.68  0/0  14/6


Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 12 12 250 327 13 4/19 25.15 7.84 19.2 1/0
Last 10
T20I Inns
10 10 202 278 11 4/19 25.27 8.25 18.3 1/0
IPL 5 16 15 360 465 8 2/46 58.12 7.75 45 0/0


Bowlers:

These are the guys who are going to get murdered in Sri Lanka. Except the spinners but even that is not guaranteed. India had precious little to choose from actually. These are the lambs they have offered up for slaughter. Take a look at which ones are ripe for the kill and which ones need to marinate a little more before they can be thrown into the cutter.

Bowling Performance of Indian bowlers in Twenty20

1. Zaheer Khan:

MS DhoniNothing has to be said about him. Even if he does not perform, his presence itself makes the Indian bowling line-up look potent. India can ill afford a trip without him or the guidance he provides other bowlers. His selection is only a question of whether or not he is fit. At the moment he looks trim and raring to go. So, Zak – pack bag and head to SL.

Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 12 12 250 327 13 4/19 25.15 7.84 19.2 1/0
Last 10
T20I Inns
10 10 202 278 11 4/19 25.27 8.25 18.3 1/0
IPL 5 16 15 360 465 8 2/46 58.12 7.75 45 0/0

2. Lakshmipathy Balaji:

MS DhoniHis Indian recall is far overdue. This season Balaji was KKR’s strike bowler in the IPL. He has been performing quite consistently for Tamil Nadu in the domestic circuit as well. In India’s tiny reservoir of fast bowlers, Balaji is a deserving candidate. Selection – ‘thumbs up’.

Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
IPL 5 8 8 180 162 11 4/18 14.72 5.4 16.3 1/0

3. Ashok Dinda:

MS DhoniWhen Alan Donald says a fast bowler reminds him of himself, he becomes a ‘must have’ for any team. Apart from that, his recent performance in Sri Lanka was quite heartening as was his constant effort to lift the Pune Warriors team in this year’s IPL.

Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 4 4 78 95 9 4/19 10.55 7.3 8.6 1/0
IPL 5 7 7 144 169 9 4/18 18.77 7.04 16 1/0

4. Ravichandran Ashwin:

MS DhoniAshwin has become India’s number one spin bowler in the shorter formats of the game. He has picked up wickets and has been economical in his recent outings. He is also Dhoni’s power-play bowler. He hasn’t been outstanding, but he seems to be India’s safest bet at the moment. Selection – ‘thumbs up.’

Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 10 10 240 302 7 1/22 43.14 7.55 34.2 0/0
Last 10
T20I Inns
10 10 240 302 7 1/22 43.14 7.55 34.2 0/0
IPL 5 19 18 395 431 14 3/23 30.78 6.54 28.2 0/0

5. Piyush Chawla:

MS DhoniHis selection stems from the necessity of choosing 15 players. The only person Chawla has impressed is Preity Zinta, his IPL team owner. Even that is not due to his performance. He had a poor IPL, but scored a century in Ranji trophy. If India have selected him for his batting, then Rahane and Badrinath should go jump in the river. Dhoni will be praying Ashwin stays fit and comes up with some dream spells. In case he has to toss the ball to Chawla, he’d be hoping that it would be when 300 runs are required of one ball. Piyush Chawla – ‘Thumbs down with tongue sticking out.’

Format Mat Inn Balls Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w/5w
T20I 3 3 66 69 2 1/14 34.5 6.27 33 0/0
IPL 5 16 16 342 419 16 3/18 26.18 7.35 21.3 0/0


Apart from a couple of dodgy selections, the Indian team looks balanced. They are one of the favourites to win this T20 World Cup. The Indians are tough to beat when they play at home and they have played so many games in Sri Lanka that even the Sri Lankans are confused as to which is the home team.



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