The way India have been playing this ICC Cricket World Cup, they are my favourites to take the silverware on Sunday, July 14 at the home of cricket, Lord’s.
Sure, it’s hardly a brave call on my part but I could so easily have plumped for one of Australia or hosts England – both squads have looked in fine touch and they have that oft sought after quality of strength in depth within their respective squads.
Back to the Men in Blue and having enjoyed watching their game with Pakistan at work whilst preparing for our US Open golf coverage, here are my top 5 takeaways from the Indian annihilation of Pakistan and why Virat Kohli & co. are the team for me.
Why India will win the ICC Cricket World Cup
1) Kohli’s captaincy has been excellent thus far. Case in point, how he coped with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s hamstring injury in the early stages of the crunch clash with Pakistan. He marshalled his bowling unit brilliantly and they romped to an easy win over their ‘auld enemy’. Remember that Kumar was injured in just his third over so Kohli had to find seven overs from somewhere and in an incredibly pressured situation. Excellent leadership from the skipper.
2) Rohit Sharma’s batting at the top of the order. For years he has been touted as the most talented player in the team and in England he has lived up to that billing. He is also missing his regular opening partner and left-hander Shikhar Dhawan – it’s tough to adapt when your normal opening partner is no longer at the other end of the wicket.
3) KL Rahul’s innings against Pakistan was excellent and again gives us further proof that the 2011 champions are confident, adaptable and focused and that each player knows his role in the squad, even when things change. He was moved from No. 4 to opener and hit 57 off 78 balls but was the anchor to Sharma’s attack and helped guide India to a 136 run partnership in just 23.5 overs. What a platform that provided for the Indian batting unit to post a mammoth 336 in the first innings.
4) Left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was under huge pressure and surely would’ve lost his place to the class act that is Ravindra Jadeja had he not bowled so beautifully and accounted for the wickets of Fakhar and Babar. He also stepped up following the injury to Kumar. The point to this is that there is huge competition for places within the India squad – that can only be a positive.
5) Finally, the crowd! And what a crowd it was. We must not underestimate their role in what will be India’s charge to a third World Cup title. Noisy, partisan and totally behind their hero’s in Blue. Reportedly, the expat Indian population in the UK reaches 1.4 million and add to that the Indian fans that have travelled from far and wide to support their side, rest assured that every ground where India play will be rammed to the rafters and they will know that they’re supported to the max.