One billion hopes came to an abrupt end when India, the two-time champions of the world, bowed out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. In a closely contested semi-final match against New Zealand at Manchester, the Men in Blue lost by 18 runs. But it is time to look towards the future instead of mulling over the past.
The tired and heartbroken Indian cricketers will now enjoy a short break before they reunite at the Caribbean. India’s next series is against West Indies. Over the course of a month, the two sides will play 3 T20Is, as many ODIs and 2 Tests. The current crop of West Indian cricketers are talented but not too intimidating for the Indians. Hence, fans can expect quite a few changes in the Indian team, as selectors will be looking to test the calibre of the youngsters.
Let us have a look at 5 cricketers who might not travel to West Indies:
5. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is the deserving first mention on this list. For a cricketer, nothing can be more saddening than not winning the World Cup despite scoring 5 centuries and being the highest run-getter. Sharma had a great World Cup, where he scored 648 runs in 9 games with an average of 81.
Less than a month before the World Cup campaign, he won a title with his IPL side Mumbai Indians their fourth title. In that competition, he played 15 matches and scored over 400 runs. Before that, he had a fairly decent run in the series against New Zealand. Hence, it would be fair to say that the 32-year-old is overworked and desperately needs some rest. BCCI might consider selecting an untested, young prospect to replace the Mumbaikar for the West Indies tour.
4. Yuzvendra Chahal
The leader of the Indian spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal had a great World Cup until the semi-final. Even in that game, he took the crucial wicket of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, but he was hit around the park. Chahal missed one game in this World Cup, and still managed to be India’s third-highest wicket-taker.
Before the World Cup, he spun his web of mystery and magic at the IPL. For Virat Kohli’s side Royal Challengers Bangalore, he took 18 wickets in 14 games. It has been very exhausting few months for the leggie, and he certainly has earned himself a sabbatical. With young spinners like Rahul Chahar and Mayank Markande doing well, BCCI should not face a problem while finding his replacement.
3. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya is a cricketer that BCCI takes special care of, regarding both on-field and off-field matters. And why should they not? Equally brilliant with both bat and ball and extremely agile on the field, he is a rare commodity. He is no more a part-timer and has now become India’s full-fledged fifth bowler. In this World Cup, he took 10 wickets and scored 226 runs.
Pandya was instrumental in Mumbai Indians’ IPL 2019 title triumph. The 25-year-old cricketer took 14 wickets and scored over 400 runs in the tournament. Given the effort he puts in day in day out, he might be exhausted. BCCI can try other options for the West Indies series, and Vijay Shankar is one such option. Though Shankar’s World Cup campaign was cut short by an injury, he didn’t impress in the chances he got. A tour against the Windies might help boost his confidence.
2. Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah has been given the tag of ‘national asset’, and no one can dare question it. Batting has always been India’s forte, but they desperately needed a pacer to lead their bowling attack. Bumrah came into the scene like a normal India pacer thereby his efforts and the way he handles pressure turned the quick a messiah. He has been mesmerizing cricket fans with his exceptional bowling. With 18 wickets, he was India’s best bowler on England tracks.
In IPL 2019, Bumrah’s wicket-tally reads 19. He has been one of the most consistent cricketers for India, and has delivered whenever the team wanted him to. Hence, it is of utmost importance to keep him fresh ahead of big tournaments. BCCI can try other alternatives in Navdeep Saini or Deepak Chahar if they decide to give Bumrah some much-needed rest.
1. MS Dhoni
The last mention on our list is a bit different from the others. While the previous four might not be selected for the West Indies tour for their enormous work-rate, MS Dhoni might not wear the precious blue ever again. Scoring a half-century against New Zealand, he almost got India over the line. Speculations regarding Dhoni’s retirement have been doing rounds in social media for a long time now.
Things escalated further when on July 12, some reports were released which stated that apparently, the 38-year-old veteran is unlikely to travel to the Caribbean. After those reports surfaced, people have already started thanking Dhoni for his incredible service over the years. Though there has been no official announcement yet, people are bracing themselves for the news of his retirement to come before the West Indies tour.
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