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Friday, May 03, 2013

2013 Champions Trophy - Indian team to be announced

The Indian team will be announced on 4th May for this year's Champions Trophy, pruning down the list from the 30-member squad announced earlier.

The probables separated by different categories are as follows:
  • Openers - M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand. Based on the IPL performances, Gambhir and Chand do not have any performances to take note. Dhawan is high on confidence after his debut test as well as the matches he has played in IPL so far. Rahane can be the spare opener in the squad as well.
  • Middle-order - Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu. Kohli, Raina will walk into the squad while Rahane is a good option to have. Manoj Tiwary is injured (again) and if he deems fit, he might be a strong contender along with the eternal selection - Rohit Sharma.
  • Wicket-keepers - Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik. There is no doubt on who is the main keeper. Karthik's blazing form in IPL means that he will play the dual role of spare wicket-keeper as well as a middle-order option.
  • Spinners - R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Jalaj Saxena, Parvez Rasool. Since the Champions Trophy is being played in England, there is no need to have more than two spinners in the squad (especially when a lot of batsmen can bowl part-time spin as well).
  • Medium/Fast Bowlers - Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Shami Ahmed, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Siddarth Kaul. It will be interesting to see which five bowlers will be selected for the tournament - my first preference would be  Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Ishant Sharma. The performance of Bhuvneshwar against the likes of Gayle, Dhoni has been remarkable while Umesh has shown that he has recovered well from his injuries. Irfan provides an all-round option to the team wile Vinay has been one of the top five wicket-taking bowlers in IPL. Ishant Sharma comes in mainly for his "experience" as well as his speed. Praveen Kumar can be a good alternative if the selection committee needs to look beyond Ishant.
The final squad will thereby be
  1. M Vijay, 
  2. Shikhar Dhawan, 
  3. Virat Kohli, 
  4. Suresh Raina, 
  5. Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra
  6. Rohit Sharma/Manoj Tiwary
  7. MS Dhoni, 
  8. Dinesh Karthik, 
  9. R Ashwin, 
  10. Ravindra Jadeja, 
  11. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 
  12. Umesh Yadav, 
  13. Irfan Pathan, 
  14. Vinay Kumar, 
  15. Ishant Sharma/Praveen Kumar
Update: The team was announced and as predicted, no Gambhir and Yuvraj were there in the squad. Amit Mishra is present in the team in place of Ajinkya Rahane while my suggestions of Manoj Tiwary and Praveen Kumar were rejected :( Not bad to see that my thinking was very close with Sandeep Patil and his team :)
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