final word?

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Nov 2018 12:06:34

WITH just a few months to go for the World Cup, has the Indian cricket team reached finality in its selection process? That is what head coach Ravi Shastri said during the press conference before flying to Australia. Shastri has said that with just 13 matches remaining before the team takes on South Africa on June 5 in the World Cup opener, there will be no more chopping and changing of players and that the team will play the 15 who are likely to go to the World Cup. Thus in the next few weeks the Indian cricket fans as well as rivals in the World Cup should have fair enough idea of the Indian team composition.

The team-building exercise has been going on for the last few months which appears to have reached finality. The remaining 13 games provide an ample opportunity to the probable players to cement their places. 

The forthcoming tour of Australia, which begins in a few weeks’ time, should be big enough opportunity to new entrants to showcase their talent on alien soil. The team that has left for Australia the other day has fair sprinkling of experience, talent and promising youngsters. But it is the youngsters who will be watched keenly. They have to make the most of the opportunity that has come their way. Being part of the World Cup team should prove to be huge incentive for young players to perform well. Those who are already part of the India A team playing in New Zealand right now would also be hoping for a call-up for national duty in Australia. Hence there will be competition enough for places that may fall vacant for some reasons.

The recent comprehensive performance against the visiting West Indies may give the Indian team much confidence in facing the Australians. But at the same time it cannot be forgotten that even during the clean sweep of the ODI matches, the West Indies team had given enough scare to the Indian team, winning some of the games very narrowly. This should prove to be a wake-up call for both the batsmen and the bowlers.

Thus both wings have to tighten their games if they want to put pressure on the Australians.
Several past players have given the Indian team a big chance to defeat Australia because of its depleted strength as their prolific run-getters are out of the picture, having been banned by their board on ball-tampering charges, and internal squabbles in Cricket Australia, the Indian team will ill-afford to be complacent. Whatever the situation in Cricket Australia, the Indian team has to treat this tour as the preparation for the crucial World Cup and prove Ravi Shastri’s word right that the team is all geared up for the forthcoming mega event.