Wednesday, January 18, 2017

India's ideal batting order for the 2017 Champions Trophy

Indian cricket might appear to be a finished product at the moment with the side performing exceptionally well across the three formats, but there are still plenty of decisions to be taken by the team management in the lead up to the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Key among those are – 
Should MS Dhoni still be India’s No. 1 wicket-keeper with the emergence of Rishabh Pant?
Does Yuvraj Singh merit a spot in the side?
How to accommodate Ajinkya Rahane in the side?
The combination of seamers to spinners, etc
A number of questions facing the team are regarding the batting order where there is a problem of plenty. Starved of ODI cricket, the team is at a stage when there are plenty of options for a few tightly contested spots.
With the lack of games over the past 18 months, there is no clear indication on who the team must go with. 
Here, we list down India’s ideal batting order for the Champions Trophy – 


Rohit Sharma Shikhar Dhawan

Rohit Sharma 

The team management will be aching to have the Mumbai batsman back in the fray. While he will always have to live with questions over his suitability in the longest format of the game, he is an absolute star in the 50-over format.
It is a format he has owned over the past couple of years as he has written his way into the record books with his double-centuries. He is currently out of the side due to a thigh injury but will be back in time for the Champions Trophy.
The only concern will be his lack of match fitness, but the team will be hoping his time in the IPL will help to get him back in the zone.

Shikhar Dhawan

Despite the criticism often leveled at him, Dhawan has proved to be a big-game player over the years. He is a player who needs a stage to perform and there is none bigger than the 2017 Champions Trophy.
In major ICC tournaments as well as the Asia Cup, Dhawan has an average that betters his career average at 60.43 compared to 43.36. In the last edition of the Champions Trophy, held at the same venue in England and Wales, he was India’s hero as he ended as the Man Of The Series after scoring the most number of runs.
He has played with Rohit over the years and they form a solid left hand-right hand combination at the top of the order.

Players to miss out – Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul

Upper middle order

Virat Kohli MS Dhoni

Virat Kohli

There is no argument as to who will walk out for India on each single occasion at No. 3 – the world’s best batsman at this position, India’s captain Virat Kohli. Despite the praise Kohli has earned recently with his performances in the Tests and T20s, he is arguably at his best in the ODIs.
The Champions Trophy will be his first major tournament as skipper of the Indian cricket team and he will be keen to lay down a marker. While chasing down scores, there is simply nobody better equipped in world cricket to successfuly accomplish it.

KL Rahul

The Indian team has vehemently backed KL Rahul and he has often come up trumps in the past couple of months. While Kohli and Kumble have backed him, he will surely lose his openers spot with the return of Rohit Sharma.
One of two possibilites open up – Either Dhawan will be dropped, or we will see KL batting at No. 4, a position he owned for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the RCB.
This will surely be a challenge to him, but he has shown that he has the flexibility to adapt and excel. With the emergence of Kedhar Jadhav as a bowling option, it further weakeans Yuvraj’s claim for a spot in the squad.

MS Dhoni 

MS Dhoni stepped down as captain of the limited-overs sides of the Indian cricket team. As the news came as a shocker to the fans initially, there was also a hint of excitement as the world would be treated to ‘MS Dhoni – the batsman’ again as was freed of the burden of captaincy.
He is still India’s best wicket-keeper and with his ability to finish off games, he will be key. In the Champions Trophy, he will be expected to play mentor to Virat Kohli and guide the Indian team to glory.
One can only hope MS Dhoni breaks the shackles and plays with the carefree spirit that made him so popular.
Players to miss out – Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh, Rishabh Pant, Suresh Raina

Lower middle order 

Kedar Jadhav

Kedhar Jadhav 

India’s pocket-dynamo Kedhar Jadhav is enjoying a fine time in the ODI team. He chose the perfect time to send a message to the selectors, doing so in emphatic fashion, scoring a sublime hundred in the first ODI against England.
He was a valuable addition to the squad as he was chipping in with both the bat and the ball. While he was never given a chance to spend much time at the crease, his strike-rate was always phenomenal.
With his century against England in the first ODI, he has cemented his spot at the No. 6 spot.

Hardik Pandya 

With the backing of the selectors over the past 12 months, the younger Pandya brother, Hardik, has quietly gone about his job. His important contributions to the team had often been with the ball and on the field.
But that changed with his knock to get India over the line against England in the first ODI. He has shown he has the ability to score runs at a canter, but also, more crucially, he has shown that he has a solid temperament and doesn’t appear to get fazed.

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