The men entrusted to win the World Cup at home, in front of thousands of cheering fans in the stadiums and millions around the country, have been announced. They will be expected to win their first World Cup trophy since 1983, and will aspire to be the first home nation to walk away with the prize (Sri Lanka in 1996 doesn’t count).
These are the chosen 15:
Personally, I think the selectors did a good job. I agree with 14 of their choices (which is way better than the 9 I agreed with, in WC 2007). Frankly, Rohit Sharma’s omission is not surprising to me; unlike Yusuf Pathan and Munaf Patel, he never grabbed his opportunities to impress. The only bone of contention is the 15th spot, which went to Piyush Chawla. India might be playing at home in spin friendly conditions, but it is still one spinner too many. With Harbhajan as the first choice spinner and loads of part-timers to support him, it is hard to see a second specialist spinner getting a game. Ashwin was always my second choice, since he has always grabbed his opportunities in whatever limited chances he has got. In case of an injury to Harbhajan, he can step up as the replacement. I find it hard to believe that after all that Dhoni has said, India will play with 5 bowlers, including two spinners; and for all of Chawla’s abilities as a bowler who can bat, it wouldn’t be wise to risk playing him in the biggest tournament of all, when the last time he played for India was almost 2 years ago. So instead of carrying Chawla as a passenger, they could have had a specialist batsmen who can field well as a sub (Rohit Sharma, though I wouldn’t give him a game) or a backup keeper (Parthiv Patel, who was unfairly overlooked in favor of Dinesh Karthik for much of the last four years). Then again, this is the 15th spot we are talking about, and I doubt it is going to make a big difference. I for one, am grateful that the selectors resisted the urge to select Dinesh Karthik or Ravindra Jadeja!
PS: Watch Srikkanth’s hilarious interview on Cricinfo about the WC squad….Geoff Miller is not the only chief selector who can earn money through after dinner speeches!