India’s performances Down Under have brightened the country’s chances of adding a third World Cup in the bag.
It is indeed heartening to see India’s positive approach and ruthlessness with which they go about their job.
The World Cup opens on May 30 in England and India will certainly be among the favourites. The team looks settled barring one or two minor headaches. It must be admitted though that the phenomenal success of Indian captain Virat Kohli is behind India’s resurgence in the one-day arena.
Kohli’s had a great year last year in all forms of the game. India will hope that this run will continue until the World Cup is over or even further.
No player has destroyed bowling attacks as Kohli did last year.
There was a sort of invincibility about him which gave others confidence. He was the fulcrum around which India built its successes.
Not far behind is Rohit Sharma. He is in top gear now and scores at will. With Shikhar Dhawan also finding his touch, the two players have had substantial partnerships which have put India in the driver’s seat.
With Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik also in full flow, India’s batting seems to be on a roll. The number four spot is still open with Ambati Rayadu out of form. But there are many young batsmen who can walk into the Indian side at any given time.
If the batting is solid, then the bowling is getting better by the day. Jasprit Bumrah has already established himself as a world-class performer while Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have done very well.
Shami has got over his personal problems and is now peaking as a bowler. Khaleel Ahmed offers a good variation with his left-arm fast stuff.
India may also have an advantage in that many of the other teams haven’t been exactly setting the world on fire at the moment.
South Africa are a bit in and out at the moment while Pakistan are inconsistent and unpredictable.
Similarly, finalists of the last edition New Zealand seem to have fallen off a bit this year after a wonderful 2018. They seem to have overcome the retirement of their hard-hitting captain Brendon McCullum with Colin Munro providing the fireworks at the top but his form has waned of late.
But there is still time for the tournament to get underway and the Kiwis will save their best for that.
England may be a tough team to overcome. Under Eoin Morgan, England have changed their tack completely. Their attacking batting and decisive bowling have brought them results and if they maintain their aggressive frame of mind, they could win the World Cup.
The biggest worry will be Australia who are in the doldrums at the moment. The loss of captain Steve Smith and David Warner have robbed the team of that verve which helped them to the top.
It needs to be seen if both star players find their touch after their one year banishment.
Never write off the West Indies. They are in good nick at the moment and a number of young players are set to light up the world stage. They always play the shorter version of the game well and this may well be their chance to redeem themselves and secure their future.
For India, the World Cup could be the crowning glory for all the hard work put in by team. And they can do it if they don’t panic and stay positive. They won’t get a better chance again.