World Cup 2019 : How the Indian squad for World Cup fared in IPL 2019

Suvajit Mustafi
Wednesday, 5 June 2019

As India begin their World Cup sojourn against South Africa in less than three weeks, Suvajit Mustafi reflects on performances of the squad members of the two-time World Champions.

The gruelling IPL season wasn’t the ideal preparation for Team India heading into the 2019 World Cup due to the difference in format and conditions; however, a high-pressure tournament just before cricket’s marquee event gave the fans an indication on the players’ form. Despite the conditions being vastly different from what the players endured during the IPL, what’s similar are the batting conditions. England has witnessed some of the most placid batting tracks in recent years. The bat vs ball contest in the upcoming World Cup will be vastly different from the previous four editions (1999, 1983, 1979 and 1975) of the tournament held in England.

As India begin their World Cup sojourn against South Africa in less than three weeks, Suvajit Mustafi reflects on performances of the squad members of the two-time World Champions.

Virat Kohli (c)
Innings 14 | Runs 464 | HS 100 | Ave 33.1 | SR 141.5 | 50s 2 | 100s 1
The best batsman in the sport wasn’t at his best in the IPL. Though the numbers look decent, Kohli over the years has set astounding benchmarks. His leadership wasn’t up to the mark as his side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) languished at the bottom of the table. Not great signs for the Indian captain, but we have seen in the past that Kohli has an incredible knack of not letting the past affect him.

Rohit Sharma (vc)
Innings 15 | Runs 405 | HS 67 | Ave 28.9 | SR 128.6 | 50s 2 

Rohit led Mumbai Indians (MI) to their record fourth IPL title. Mentally, he will be in a great space, but Rohit the batsman was far from his best during the tournament. Rohit, one of the greatest white-ball batsmen, will be the fuel to India’s success in the World Cup. The runs will have to flow soon.  

MS Dhoni (wk)
Innings 12 | Runs 416 | HS 84* | Ave 83.2 | SR 134.6 | 50s 3 

The magic was waning. Even the most ardent fans began having second thoughts. But the legend of Dhoni continues to grow in 2019. He was among the finest performers in IPL 2019 and marshalled his ageing troop brilliantly. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) played their eighth IPL final out of their ten participation and fell short of what could be a record fourth title by one run. 
Dhoni was the only saving grace in the otherwise inconsistent CSK batting line-up. Behind the stumps, he continued his brilliance against the spinners and with DRS calls. Dhoni’s form is a great sign for India.

Dinesh Karthik (wk)
Innings 12 | Runs 253 | HS 97* | Ave 31.6 | SR 146.2 | 50s 2 

Karthik’s inclusion in the World Cup squad ahead of Rishabh Pant surprised many. He didn’t do enough to prove the naysayers wrong. Unlike the last season, he was inconsistent with the bat and what hurt Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was his decision-making as the captain. Though Kartik has been picked as the standby wicketkeeper, he will need to emerge over the little cameos with the bat to make a difference as a specialist batsman.

Shikhar Dhawan
Innings 16 | Runs 521 | HS 97* | Ave 34.7 | SR 135.7 | 50s 5 

Dhawan’s transfer to Delhi Capitals (DC) was one of the reasons for the franchise’s change in fortunes. He was consistent for the major part of the tournament before losing the sheen at the end where he failed to convert the starts. Dhawan’s good run ensured Delhi a playoff spot after seven years as they finished third in the tournament.

Dhawan has the most impressive record among all Indian batsmen in the ICC events. The Indian top three that consists of him, Rohit and Kohli will be the side’s fulcrum in what is expected to be a batting-dominated tournament.  

KL Rahul
Innings 14 | Runs 593 | HS 100* | Ave 53.9 | SR 135.4 | 50s 6 | 100s 1

Rahul earned his World Cup berth courtesy the form he displayed for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the top. He was exceptional in the 2018 season of IPL before losing his form in international cricket. He redeemed himself in IPL 2019, where he finished as the second highest run-getter. This will be Rahul’s first World Cup and Team India requires him to capitalise on his good form. Though he is the reserve opener, in all likelihood, he will be preferred No.4, a position that has been under the spotlight of discussion for long.  

Kedar Jadhav
Innings 12 | Runs 162 | HS 58 | Ave 18 | SR 95.9 | 50s 1 

Jadhav made a minimal impact on CSK's show. He was far from the best as a batsman, and in a side with a plethora of spinners, he had no role to play with the ball too. A shoulder injury resulted in a premature end of tournament for him.
Despite Jadhav’s poor show, it will be a massive blow for India if he is ruled out of the World Cup. Jadhav’s dual role with the bat and ball has been a critical ingredient to India’s success off late in ODIs. His injury is being duly monitored with fans keeping their fingers crossed.

Hardik Pandya
Innings 15 | Runs 402 | HS 91 | Ave 44.7 | SR 191.4 | 50s 1 
Wickets 14 | BB 3-20 | Ave 27.9 | Econ 9.2 

Hardik shed off the controversies and went on to enhance his reputation as an all-rounder, emerging as MI’s most valuable player in the tournament. Bowlers had no antidote to his late-over onslaughts. He was more than handy with the ball. 
A destructive batsman, a thinking seamer and a brilliant fielder, Hardik enters the World Cup as one of India’s key players and his form will determine India’s chances in the month-and-half long tournament.

Vijay Shankar
Innings 14 | Runs 244 | HS 40* | Ave 20.3 | SR 126.4  
Wickets 1| BB 1-11 | Ave 70 | Econ 8.8 

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) had the most destructive opening combination in David Warner and Jonny Bairstow for the major part of the tournament. Shankar, who had made some reputation as an India player, was entrusted with the role of shepherding the batting in the middle-order. He failed miserably, and that hurt the team’s cause. He had very little impact with the ball too. His overall show in the IPL raises questions over his World Cup spot. He is an unlikely starter in the 11 when India take the field against South Africa on June 5.

Ravindra Jadeja
Innings 9 | Runs 106 | HS 31* | Ave 35.3 | SR 120.5  
Wickets 15| BB 3-9 | Ave 22.9 | Econ 6.3 

Jadeja was one of the stars for CSK in yet another impressive campaign. He choked the runs with his left-arm spin, contributed with crucial batting cameos at the death and remained CSK’s most reliable fielder.
Jadeja is inarguably the best all-round fielder in the World Cup squad. He is the only specialist finger-spinner in the squad. Though he won’t start as the preferred spinner in the 11, Jadeja’s role games remains critical in a long tournament with nine league matches.

Kuldeep Yadav
Innings 9 | Wickets 4| BB 2-41 | Ave 71.5 | Econ 8.7 

World ranked seventh and fifth in ODIs and T20Is respectively, Kuldeep had a torrid IPL season. He was visibly distraught in one of the games where Moeen Ali plundered 26 runs off his over. KKR eventually dropped him. 
The young Chinaman bowler, who has been instrumental in India’s rise to domination, needs to rejuvenate ahead of the mega event. Opponents will look to feed on his lost confidence and there lies a tricky situation for Kohli and company. 

Yuzvendra Chahal
Innings 14 | Wickets 18| BB 4-35 | Ave 21.4 | Econ 7.8 

RCB’s bowling was their Achilles’ heel again with Chahal being a saving grace. The leg-spinner had another good season with the ball, picking up crucial wickets. What makes Chahal’s role more special is the fact that he plays half his season’s matches at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, which is a small ground and a batting paradise. 

Kuldeep’s form and confidence have taken a massive hit; therefore, Chahal will be leading India’s spin attack in the World Cup. The wrist-spin duo is India’s strength and differentiating factor in the tournament.

Jasprit Bumrah
Innings 16 | Wickets 19| BB 3-20 | Ave 21.5 | Econ 6.6 

Bumrah is an asset, and with every passing game, he keeps improving. Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli rate him the best fast bowler. His MI teammate and cricket star Yuvraj Singh confessed that he asks Bumrah not to bowl to him in the nets.
Despite bowling in the Powerplay and the death, Bumrah finished IPL 2019 with an economy rate of 6.6! He has tamed the best of batters and provided a Man-of-the-Match performance in the tournament final that enabled the IPL Trophy win for Mumbai. 

Ranked No.1 among ODI bowlers, the bowling fortunes for Team India in the 2019 World Cup rests on this 25-year-old pacer. 

Mohammed Shami
Innings 14 | Wickets 19| BB 3-21 | Ave 24.7 | Econ 8.7 

Shami has not looked back since his return to international cricket. He continued his wicket-taking spree from across formats to the IPL. Though he leaked runs at times, he picked up wickets finishing up as the joint fifth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

Shami was India’s best bowler in the 2015 World Cup. His return to form further strengthens the Indian bowling contingent. He is likely to start as India’s preferred second pacer.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Innings 15 | Wickets 13| BB 2-24 | Ave 35.5 | Econ 7.8 

To Bhuvi’s credit, his dot-ball percentage was very high, even higher than Bumrah. However, his bowling numbers do not do justice to his reputation. He also led SRH in many of the games this season without a lot of success. Injuries and frequent rotation have hampered his rise. His confidence won’t be sky-high, but he remains a vital cog in the Indian squad.
Bhuvi’s experience, skills with swing bowling in English conditions and guile at the death will be the major things that Team India will bank on.


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