Good chance for youngsters to seal berth
With the World Cup nearing, there is a good chance for youngsters, like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, to impress in the upcoming ODIs and seal a berth in the squad, says Harish Kotian.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hinted before the start of the One-day International series against Australia that the upcoming matches provides youngsters a chance to seal a berth in the World Cup squad.
India plays just 12 one-dayers before the World Cup in February -- two against Australia, five against New Zealand and five in South Africa.
With senior players being rested for the current Australia series, it gives a good chance for youngsters like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to impress the selectors and push for a berth in the squad.
Dhoni made it clear that eight or nine senior players are sure to make it to the World Cup, barring injuries. However, there may be a few slots to be filled, like a fast bowler, an all-rounder and a big-hitting batsman down the order.
"There are quite a few spots available depending upon the performance of the individual. It's also about what criteria the team wants to go with -- whether they want an all-rounder, or stick with a batsman to work away with a part-timer. The slots will be open for quite some time now," he had said.
Image: MS Dhoni and Murali Vijay
Kohli has proved his potential
While a player's recent form will be considered, it is clear the selectors will also take into account the players' showing in the last year or so. They will look at the top ten batsmen and bowlers, and how consistent their performances were in the last two years.
Also, they will see which players fared well as all-rounders.
A look at the batsmen's chart since January clearly shows that the senior players played a crucial part in the teams consistent showing.
Dhoni stands out with a tally of 1798 runs in 46 matches; so does Sachin Tendulkar (1176 runs in 23 games). Young Virat Kohli too has proved his potential, scoring 968 runs in 29 matches (second ODI vs Australia not included).
Yuvraj Singh struggled recently, but still manages a respectable tally of 954 runs in 32 games. He faces a stiff competition for a slot in the middle order from Kohli and Rohit Sharma (562 runs in 22 games).
Top-10 Indian batsmen in ODIs since 2009 (Min.5 innings)
Image: Virat Kohli
Nehra impressive since his comeback
In the bowling department, Ashish Nehra has made a big impact since his comeback. The veteran bowler excelled, claiming 52 wickets in 35 matches, while Harbhajan Singh has taken 40 wickets in 32 games.
Praveen Kumar proved to be a potent weapon with the new ball, with 35 wickets from 30 games, while Zaheer Khan (23 wickets in 21 games) has struggled with injuries.
Pragyan Ojha also has shown great potential, bagging 15 wickets in 11 games at a steady economy rate of 4.45.
Top-10 Bowlers (Minimum 5 wickets)
Image: Ashish Nehra
India struggling to find the perfect all-rounder
It is the all-rounders department where India is struggling; it puts the team's balance in a bit of jeopardy.
The lack of a genuine all-rounder, or rather the failure of the all-rounders who have been tried, has forced Dhoni to use part-timers like Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj.
Yusuf Pathan has fallen out of favour after below-par performances with both bat and ball, while Ravindra Jadeja needs to impress against Australia to retain his place in the squad.
Top all-rounders (Minimum 100 runs & 5 wkts)
|Players||Mts||Runs||Batting Avg||Wickets||Bowling Avg||Bat-Bowl Avg|
Image: Ravindra Jadeja