India has officially opened the 2011 World Cup challenge with a win and even if it is against Bangladesh, we are not complaining.
As days of the tournament unfold though, there will be bigger and tougher matches put in front of India that will truly test the team’s grit and the will to win the cup. If you are still puzzled about the strengths and weakness of the present Indian team, here is a quick look at the boys in blue.
Caption Mahendra Singh Dhoni
The coolest wicket keeper when Dhoni initially came to play for India, he was known for his odd long locks. But soon the selecters and the country realized that what lied beneath those looks was a mind that was sharp and confident, cool and conquering. He soon proved his point by steadily making runs and keeping wicket like no one had done before. Son of a former pump operator, Mahi as he is fondly called led India to world T20 triumph in 2007. It is very likely that captain cool will lead India to the World Cup 2011 victory as well.
Virendra Sehwag (Vice-Captain)
If the 175 runs he made against Bangladesh in the debut match is not enough, the world’s most feared opener also has an ODI strike of 103. What’s an added advantage is that this Nawab of Najafgarh can also bowl off breaks. Virendra has remained steadfast to his opening position in the Indian team for a long time and with time he has only matured into a very very dependable batsman. Hope the debut run continues in all consecutive WC matches.
Not much to say about someone who is already known as GOD of cricket. Most runs, most centuries, only man to score 200 in a 50 over game, there is no record hard enough for this man. And despite this all he continues to remain modest and as enthusuaitc about a new match as if he is coming to the field for the first time. With hermit like approach to cricket it is strongly hoped that his record 6th appearance in an world cup tournament would be his most memorable when Sachin and the team bring the cup home.
When you have been bided for the highest amount for IPL, you do have to prove your worth in every match you play. And that is exactly what Gautam Gambhir must be feeling right now when he puts the team India cap on for the WC. Hopefully his batting would remain as stunning as ever and he would make every opponent bowler wish Gambhir was not playing.
A man who loves his parties as much as his cricket, Yuvraj Sigh has not been batting as well as his fans want to lately. But everyone knows that the man can be down but not out because no one can really forget the only man to have hit six sixes in an over. His strength is also his left arm spin and as an all rounder team India needs to see Yuvi in his elements right now.
When Greg Chapel called him the Indian Brian Lara, the world looked at him with a new found respect. And Suresh Raina has proved that he is not a named that can be forgotten easily. He has a good fielding hand too, which considering team India’s weakness, might come in handy during the WC.
He came. He saw. He conquered. That is Virat Kohli who scored an unbeaten 103 during the first world cup match. Already ranked No.2 ODI batsman he has to remain the same confident self to not just ensure his place in the subsequent matches but clinch one or more man of the match awards too.
A few years ago, Yusuf was known as Irfan pathan’s elder brother. But now he is known as the world’s most destructive batsman. He is off and on given the task of fighting the slog overs for India and he saves the day all the time.
Controversy and Harbhajan go hand in hand. But lately he is also holding his bat more confidently and surprising everyone with his match winning centuries. So during WC too it will do no harm if he displays his stunning batting and spinning style with the occasional anger burst that fans enjoy too.
One of the few survivors from the 2003 squad, his six wicket haul against England then remains one of the best in ODI. Fitness is a concern but hopefully Nehra gets to display his 2003 panache this time around too.
A fast bowler discovered by Kiran More, Munaf Patel is slowly shedding his initial stiffness and also concentrating on accuracy rather than just being fast. He took wickets during the Bangladesh match and if he can do the same with tougher opponents, whether he keeps his shirt in or out will not be a concern anymore to Gavaskar or other Indian fans.
Playing for Chennai Superkings, this off-spinner was regularly used by Dhoni during powerplays. Everyone is praying he will replicate his IPl success.
He came as a surprise pick when selectors picked him over other aspirants, but during practice games, Chawla has proved his worth. Hope the leg-spinner makes people sit up and take notice in the real ODIs too.
This lucky pacer got a break when Praveen Kumar got injured. From crooning songs for team India, dancing to bollywood tunes, to picking quick wickets, the man can definitely impress anyone on the ground and off it.
That is the summary of the 15 men is blue. Only time will tell if they will really be the men India remembers for eternity for picking up the coveted World Cup 2011 trophy.