India is clearly one of the favourites to win the ODI World Cup 2015 being held in Australia from February 14 to March 29. Here is looking at some of the reasons why…
- Most consistent team from 2011-15: Since India won the last World Cup in 2011, we have been among the most consistent ODI teams around.
We won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and have won 6/7 ODI series on home soil that include two 5-0s.
- Dhoni still has it in the shorter formats: Captain MS Dhoni may have totally lost it in foreign Tests, but he still has it in the shorter formats of the game. His experience, cool and calm will come in very handy during the 2015 tournament.
2007: T20 World Cup.
2010: Champions League T20.
2011: ODI World Cup.
2013: ICC Champions Trophy.
2014: Champions League T20.
With the Test burden off his shoulders, he can fully concentrate on ODIs now.
- Australian conditions are familiar to the team: The current team has had more than enough time to acclimatize. They reached Australia in November and the World Cup is in February.
The others will get good practice during the triangular trophy which also features England. All our players will be totally used to all the Australian pitches by the time of the World Cup. We will be playing two matches in New Zealand, but they are against lowly-ranked teams like Zimbabwe and Ireland and also our players have experience in playing in New Zealand conditions too thanks to the 2014 tour there.
- Kohli and Rohit powering Team India: Two players who are in red hot form are Kohli and Rohit. Ever since Rohit became an ODI opener in 2013, he averages 51.6 with two double centuries.
Suresh Raina by hitting a blistering century off 74 balls on England soil at Cardiff in August 2014 has broken his foreign soil jinx. (He never was a Test player in the first place as his recent performances show) Ajinkya Rahane also averaged 48 in the same ODI series with England.
Mohammed Shami took 10 wickets in the West Indies ODI series last year and his five-for in the Sydney Test shows that he is peaking at the right time. Our spinners may be failing in Tests, but they are much more comfortable in the ODI format.
Finally, Dhoni and Kohli are probably the two best chasers and finishers in the business.
- Doing well abroad too: People think India are poor travellers in ODIs too, but that is not the case. We have historically done really well abroad in the shorter formats of the game.
That is the past. We have been doing well in the last couple of years too. We won a bilateral series in Sri Lanka in 2012, the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2013, the triangular series in West Indies in 2013 and the England ODI series in 2014.
Outside India, Dhoni has a competitive win-loss ratio of 55-38 for ODIs. He will not be at any disadvantage when he leads India in Australia.
The last four years have been amongst our best ever for Team India in ODIs and this current team definitely has the potential to win one more World Cup.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/