The BCCI selectors announced the 15-member Indian squad for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England from June 1. The showpiece event shall feature the top eight teams of international cricket locking horns for the coveted title.The Indian team are the defending champions courtesy them lifting the title in 2013 by beating hosts England in the finals.
Indian are drawn with arch rivals Pakistan, Asian neighbours Sri Lanka and the South Africans in Group B. The national selectors were always faced with a tricky situation of either going for experience or trying out new talent who have showcased their mantle in the Indian Premier League.
The likes of Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana pressed the selector's door hard with their impressive performances in the ongoing IPL. Meanwhile, seasoned campaigners like Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina would feel a touch unlucky for missing out after putting up impressive performances in the IPL.
The selectors played it safe by choosing a squad which includes stalwarts who have proven their forte in major limited-over tournaments in the past and brought back glory to the nation. The selectors have been able to select a team which has a good blend of experience and youth.Virat Kohli shall be captaining the team in a major ICC tournament for the first time and would have the experience of MS Dhoni on his side for decision making.
So let us have a look at the 15 men who shall be donning the Team India jersey in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan who blossomed as an opening pair in the 2013 Champions Trophy shall once again reunite to open the innings for the Men in Blue. They have been India's most formidable opening pair after Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir faded away from international cricket. While Rohit 'the Hitman' oozes with talent and class, Dhawan is one of the most destructive openers if he gets his act together. The duo was highly successful in their opening campaign in the previous edition at England.
The skipper Virat Kohli has made the number three position his own and would look once again to churn out consistent performances with the willow.The master chaser would look to anchor the innings and provide the much-required impetus in the batting. Ajinkya Rahane would add a degree of calm in the middle order with his sound technique and rock-solid temperament.
With the ball seaming around in England, one would require Rahane to hold one end up and hold the fort if the opposition makes early inroads. The middle order enriched with experience is full of attacking stroke makers in Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni who can change the course of the match with their belligerent hitting.
Yuvi who has produced some stellar performances in big tournaments would love to churn out match winning performances for India in his last major outing at the international level. Meanwhile, the veteran MS Dhoni would have his task cut out as a finisher.Hardik Pandya would look to produce some whirlwind cameos at the end of the innings. The inclusion of young Manish Pandey has brought an air of freshness. Pandey is an aggressive stroke maker who has the ability to take the attack to the opposition.
The selectors haven't gone with too many spinners as the English tracks are not considered to be very spin friendly. Ace offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin coming back into the team after recovering from Sports Hernia would once again be the front-line spinner for India. Ashwin would have his spin twin in allrounder Ravindra Jadeja who has been among the wickets in One Day cricket.Jadeja would also provide depth to the batting down the order.
The think tank has been spot on by selecting a pace heavy squad. After many years, India looks to have a potent and well-rounded pace attack.While Bhuvneshwar Kumar would cherish the seam friendly English conditions where he can extract a lot of swing. Speedster Umesh Yadav could be menacing on wickets which assist pace and bounce.
Mohammad Shami's return to the side has bolstered the pace attack. Shami has the ability to move the ball both ways and is a master at bowling the yorker consistently with the old ball. Meanwhile Jasprit Bumrah has been a revelation of sorts in the ODIs with his immaculate line and length.Bumrah has the ability to choke the opposition with his immaculate bowling.
So the Indian team looks to be a potent side which has the requisite arsenal in batting and bowling to be a major title contender for the tournament.