Mumbai: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday cleared the way for India’s participation in Champions Trophy 2017, starting from June 1 in England.
The next question now is who will make into the 15-man squad for the tournament. While BCCI has said that it will announce the team in the next 48 hours, here we take a look at the probable:
ROHIT SHARMA (Opener)
After returning from a long injury lay-off, Rohit Sharma struggled in the initial few matches of IPL 10. However, the Mumbai Indians skipper seem to have found his touch back and played a match-winning knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium on May 1.
Rohit is the only batsman in world cricket to score two double centuries in ODIs and currently holds the record for the highest individual score in the 50-over format (264 against Sri Lanka on November 13, 2014).
SHIKHAR DHAWAN (Opener)
The best batsman of India’s victorious campaign in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. Shikhar Dhawan has been in splendid form in the ongoing IPL and his experience of playing in pressure situations will hold a key in his selection. Dhawan is also a left-hander and the selectors will be tempted to pick left and right-handed batsmen as openers.
AJINKYA RAHANE (Reserve Opener)
KL Rahul’s injury has paved a way for Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion. Rahane may not have set the IPL on fire but his temperament and technique will give him an edge over other rookie batsmen. However, it looks to be seen, whether the Mumbai batsman will make the cut into the playing 11.
VIRAT KOHLI (Captain)
This man selects himself. In fact, the Champions Trophy in England will be Captain Virat Kohli’s biggest challenge in ODIs after taking over the reins from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kohli may have faced disappointment as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the form of King Kohli will be key if India has to win their record third title in the eight-nation tournament.
YUVRAJ SINGH (All-rounder)
The hero of India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup triumphs, Yuvraj Singh slammed 127-ball 150 against England in the last ODI series to cement his place in the squad. A player for the big occasion, Yuvraj’s part-time spin bowling will play a key role in helping Captain Kohli find the right balance in the team.
KEDAR JADHAV (Batsman)
He can bat, bowl his part-time off-spin and also keep wickets if the need arises. The Pune-based batsman may have had a quiet IPL, but his past exploits will be enough to book his London berth.
MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI (Wicketkeeper/Batsman)
One player, who has been under tremendous pressure this IPL. Dhoni may be an automatic selection in England but it has to be seen whether the 2017 Champions Trophy will be his farewell tournament in the 50-over format? Looking at his so-called successor Rishabh Pant’s form with the bat looks like the selectors surely have an option ready.
HARDIK PANDYA (Pace Allrounder)
His bowling style suits the England conditions and Hardik Pandya has certainly added some pace. His athleticism on the field and power-hitting with the bat makes Hardik a crucial component in India’s ‘Top 15’
RAVINDRA JADEJA (Spin Allrounder)
India’s Mr. Cricket! Ravindra Jadeja can bat, bowl or field with equal panache. This seasoned allrounder will be Kohli’s go-to man in England.
KULDEEP YADAV (Spinner)
Brad Hogg, who was himself a Chinaman bowler said that Kuldeep Yadav if included, can be India’s ‘trump card’ at the Champions Trophy. The left-arm spinner made a sensational Test debut picking four crucial wickets against Australia on a pace-friendly Dharamsala wicket.
R ASHWIN (Ace Spinner- Subject to fitness clearance)
India’s ace spinner in all the three formats of the game. Ashwin missed out of the IPL due to an injury and a lot will depend on whether the all-rounder is match-fit for the big event in England.
BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR (Pacer)
He currently leads the wicket charts in IPL 10 and his bowling style suits the swinging conditions in England. Bhuvneshwar can be expected to lead India’s bowling charge at the eight-nation tournament.
JASPRIT BUMRAH (Pacer)
One of the world’s leading fast bowler in the limited-overs format. Jasprit Bumrah has time and again showed his class and his splendid ‘Super Over’ performance against Gujarat Lions even made the legendary Lasith Malinga proud. After Kohli, Bumrah will be India’s second most important player, if India has to defend their title in England.
UMESH YADAV (Pacer)
One player, who continuously impressed during the marathon home season for India. Umesh can swing the ball at express pace but it is his accuracy in the death overs and powerplays, which will decide Umesh’s performance graph in the Champions Trophy.
MOHAMMED SHAMI (Pacer)
Former India Captain Sourav Ganguly has called him an automatic choice for the Champions Trophy. Coming back from an injury lay-off, Shami delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance in the victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Shami may have gone wicketless against Gujarat Lions, but the dependable fast bowler can be expected to get his groove back with more games under his belt.
GAUTAM GAMBHIR (Experienced opener)
MANISH PANDEY (Young Batsman)
RISHABH PANT (Young Batsman and also wicketkeeper)
KRUNAL PANDYA (All-rounder)