With the commencement of Champions Trophy drawing near, the BCCI has cleared all doubts over India’s participation in the tournament. The defending champions have already announced their squad for the 8-nation competition to be held in England but here is an opinion of who else should have had gotten the chance for the main XI
In this article, we try to look at my personal review of main XI of Team India, who should have been, selected strictly on the basis of their IPL 10 performance. The actual squad does differ, but not entirely, going by the current form I feel this is should have been the best XI possible.
OPENERS: GAUTAM GAMBHIR(C) AND SHIKHAR DHAWAN
With Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane having a lean patch with the bat, it is Gambhir and Dhawan who had made their presence felt by their form. They should surely have been opening pair for the Champions Trophy. While the KKR skipper has scored an emphatic 411 runs from just 11 innings, Dhawan isn’t far behind in the race with a great 369 runs under his name in just 10 matches. Though with Dhavan in team, Gambhir is fighting to forge his way back to the national team and going by his IPL performance so far, he should surely have made it. Rahul Tripathi could have been another contender as per me but his experience rules him out from my personal team.
MIDDLE ORDER: ROBIN UTHAPPA, SURESH RAINA, RISHABH PANT(Wk)
Currently, at the fourth position in the race for the Orange Cap in IPL, Uthappa has proved himself amongst the top-10 scorers of the season. He surely did have a couple of failures to start with, the Knights’ keeper has taken the rest off the list for bowlers thereafter. He has managed to score a decent 384 runs from 9 innings at a strike rate of 170 that clearly indicates the good form he is having. His 21 sixes till now is only second to Warner’s 23.
Meanwhile, Raina’s last ODI came in October 2015 and since then the limited overs specialist is out of mix from the Indian team for long. Though after scoring 395 runs from 11 games, the batsman stated his ability that he is far from being finished. While Yuvraj and Jadhav are still struggling to find their form in the tournament, the Gujarat Lions’ captain, their sole shining star is just opposite.
After his decimating innings of 97 against Gujarat, the young gun Rishbah Pant has been stealing the wicket-keeping slot from his senior Dinesh Karthik in my XI. Dhoni is yet to show his best and set the stage on fire this year, but Pant is really clean on hitting and surely has been appreciated from each and everyone including the god himself, Sachin Tendulkar. The batsman has scored 200 of his 281 runs in boundaries, with the same number of sixes and boundaries.
ALL ROUNDERS: HARDIK PANDYA AND AXAR PATEL
The game changers for the team who are currently scalping wickets at some very important moments of IPL have been the USP of these two players this season. While Pandya has been the unsung hero in Mumbai’s winning form this season, Patel too managed to play his role to perfection for Punjab. Currently, as India’s highest ranked ODI bowler, Axar has managed 13 wickets from a mere 10 games alongside scoring runs at an emphatic strike rate of 150. Pandya’s also on the other has a strike rate of 171 which is higher than Patel, but he is yet to get much opportunity with the ball.
PACERS: BHUVI, SANDEEP SHARMA AND BUMRAH
Bhuvi’s 21 wickets from 10 games and at an economy of under just 7, nobody will dare to question a place for him in our XI. Bhuvi will have swing expert Sandeep and Bumrah to accompany him. Sandeep’s consecutive MOTM awards had his wickets column rise to 14 while Bumrah also has managed to take a decent total of 12 wickets from 10 matches. This trio covers all the bases which potentially one wants to see in any fast bowler and can surely succeed in the favourable conditions of England.
SPINNER: YUZVENDRA CHAHAL
With 13 wickets from just 11 games, Chahal is the best specialist spinner as per me in our team at the moment. The leg spinner has had a tremendous amount of success in IPL which he showed in a T20I against England earlier this year, with his exceptional 6/24 haul. His bowling with major deceptive googlies could surely be tough to handle for any batting unit. With Jadeja out of form and Ashwin out for the IPL resting, Chahal is my top favourite option as per his current form, to my team XI.