India begin the defence of their World title on February 15 in what’s bound to be one of the games of the tournament against their greatest rivals Pakistan.
They will look to send out a statement even before this game, during the tri-series between Australia, England and India. It's naturally thought that this series will provide sides with opportunity to experiment with various combinations and batting line ups.
This is how the Indian squad looks and potentially the method which they will go with in their opening game of the World Cup:
In recent times India has opted to go with five batsmen, one wicket-keeper, two all-rounders (of which at least one is usually a spinner) and three bowlers. They look set on this combination and are vastly experienced using it.
In most likelihood the openers will be Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, following good ODI performances from the pair. But if Dhawan’s test form is anything to go by India may be forced into a change. If this was the case they would look to promote Ajinkya Rahane to the top of the order.
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The next three batsmen pick themselves; with Rahane and the in-form Virat Kohli likely to bat at three and four (each in either position) and Suresh Raina at number five. Ambati Rayudu is the final batsmen in the squad and is the one who will be favoured for the axe.
Along with Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni is the only player who you could say is guaranteed a place in the side. The Indian captain will hope that he can lead his side to world cup glory once again and if he can replicate performances like that of the 2011 World Cup Final, India will have one hand already on the trophy.
The selectors have opted for four all-rounders in the squad, three spin bowling all-rounders and one medium pacer. This will be the hardest selection of the team for Dhoni, Duncan Fletcher and Ravi Shastri.
It seems as though Ravi Ashwin will get the nod because of his experience, although the other spot in the team is up for debate. Ravindra Jadeja is recovering from an injury and should be fit for selection for the Pakistan fixture; Axar Patel would provide similar attributes as Jadeja, but he may not be picked due to his lack of experience.
On the other hand if India wanted to throw off the opposition by playing someone that has not been seen much on the international stage, then Patel would be a perfect replacement. Sturat Binny is the final all-rounder and on the Aussie tracks, Dhoni may want the option of a fourth seamer who can hold the bat.
There are four pace-bowlers in the fifteen man squad and so only one will miss out. Mohammed Shami was phenomenal in the limited-overs format last year and would almost definitely be on the team sheet.
Ishant Sharma may feature, if it is thought that experience is required and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be a handful in conditions providing assistance to swing bowling. Umesh Yadav is the final quick and if raw pace is wanted to hurry the batsmen then he will certainly be pushing for selection.
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