Cricket World Cup 2019: Can India win the trophy this year?

Cricket June 2, 2019
Can India win the World Cup this year? Image: BCCI

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Can India win the trophy this year?

So months of wait finally come to an end as the ICC Cricket World Cup has well and truly begun now and Team India, is, as always, a strong favorite. We take a look at the odds the Men In Blue need to overcome if they are to lift the World Cup for the third time.

India need to open their campaign strongly. Image: BCCI
  India needs to open their campaign strongly. Image: BCCI

Tough Tests First in the World Cup:

Now, it is perfectly understandable that most of the fans and avid cricket watchers would find the initial part of the tournament very dull due to the majority of the one-sided matches that have been on the display. However, considering the round-robin method and the number of interesting games yet to take place, it would be safe to say that the spectators are in for a spectacular ride. India quite surprisingly starts off their tournament on the 5th of June against South Africa.

For a team that is fancied as one of the topmost favorites this time around, it would be crucial for them to begin the tournament on a positive and successful note. The Virat Kohli-led side will face the likes of the Proteas, Australia, New Zealand, and Pakistan within a span of 11 days and hence given the hectic style of the competition, it would be integral to ensure that the level of performances and the intensity does not take a dip.

However, it is necessary to analyze how well-equipped they are right now with regards to the World Cup?

Answers to the persistent questions from the warm-up games:

Well, as the first two warm-up matches concluded, one would have a fair amount of idea regarding this team’s fortunes in the upcoming event.

There was definitely a sense of palpability and rustiness in the first match against New Zealand, but they fired with all cylinders whilst facing Bangladesh. However, the mere fact that the team management possibly found an answer to their woes regarding the number four position is commendable and satisfactory to an extent. One must not read much into these warm-up games at times, but class and recent form speak for itself; like it did for KL Rahul when the team came up against Mashrafe Mortaza’s team a few days ago.

Kuldeep Yadav showed some good form in the warmup games. Image: BCCI
Kuldeep Yadav showed some good form in the warmup games. Image: BCCI

After battling the seemingly difficult overcast conditions initially, KL Rahul paced his innings to perfection and brought up his century in tremendous style to paper the cracks in playing XI. He showed the duality of playing style required for a number four batsman by rotating the strike regularly whenever required and then bringing up the big shots to boost up the scoring rate according to the demands of the situation as well. The likes of Ravindra Jadeja presented a strong case for his place in the starting team as he batted quite well against the Kiwis, scoring a half-century in the process and was tidy with the ball in both the encounters.

However, Kuldeep Yadav roared back from his bad patch by notching three scalps against Bangladesh but concerns over his overall form remain and if he fails to regain the zip and the tendency to deceive the batsman with the ball in the air, then Jadeja might sneak into the team soon in the group stage matches. Questions still loom over Kedar Jadhav’s fitness as the all-rounder hasn’t batted or bowled in either of the warm-up games.

The Bigger Picture:

Anyways, the playing XI more or less seems to be quite settled currently and through the recent run of results might have been worrisome, India is surely one of the favorites to make their way to the semifinals. They are way too well-equipped a unit to not do so, and if they don’t, it might turn out to be probably the biggest news from this tournament. However, this works only until the group stages of the competition. After that, the team that has players who can absorb pressure in the best way and come out triumphant from it will succeed eventually.

Hardik Pandya will be a key player for India this summer. Image: BCCI
Hardik Pandya will be a key player for India this summer. Image: BCCI

For India, the pathway towards the playoffs should be obligatory if they perform to their potential, but the difference between bundles of talent and a sturdy temperament will come into play during the semifinals if they were to reach that far. How the Indian team tackles that, will be directly analogous to their possible expectations and that of a billion cricket fans back from the homeland.