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Co-hosts India the Team to Beat at the 2011 Cricket World Cup

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Rod Crowley

India's Sachin Tendulkar will be looking to win the Cricket World Cup at the sixth time of asking in 2011.

As expected Sachin Tendulkar was named in India’s 15 man Cricket World Cup squad despite being sent home from the side’s recent tour of South Africa with a hamstring injury. The 37 year old superstar will be playing in his sixth World Cup after first appearing in the competition back in 1992 when held in Australia and New Zealand. The 2011 World Cup will be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from 19th February, with India playing Bangladesh in the opening game in Dacca.

Amazingly and despite holding a number of world cup records, Tendulkar has yet to finish on the winning side. The best India has achieved with him in the team was the runners up spot in 2003, when India were beaten by Australia in the final. Tendulkar however was awarded the “Man of the Tournament” after scoring an incredible 673 runs, which is the highest amount of runs anyone has ever scored in the world cup finals. He also holds the record for the most aggregate runs scored in world cup final tournaments with 1,796, a number that is never likely to be bettered.

The man known as the ‘Little Master’ even had to put some further ‘icing on the cake’ in 2010 when he became the first player to score 200 runs in a 50 over ODI, which he achieved against no less a side than South Africa.

With Tendulkar in the Indian side it is little wonder why they have been made favorites to win the 2011 world cup, something that they have not achieved since 1983 when the tournament was hosted by England.

The full India Squad is as follows:

MS Dhoni – Captain, wicket-keeper and middle order batsman. MS Dhoni is regarded as a big hitting match winning batsman, who can be absolutely lethal on his day. He has amassed over 5,700 ODI runs at an astonishing average of 50.73. He has scored seven centuries and 37 half centuries, with a highest score of 183 not out. He has snapped up 170 catches and stumped 55 batsmen in the 171 matches he has played.

Virender Sehwag – Vice captain and opening batsman. Sehwag is one of the most exciting opening batsmen in one day cricket in the world, who can destroy the opposition in just a few overs. He has every shot in the book, he is incredibly experienced and can bowl a bit too as his 92 wickets can testify. In 228 ODI, Sehwag has scored 7,380 runs at an average of over 34, with 13 hundreds and 36 half centuries.

Sachin Tendulkar – as mentioned in the introduction to this post.

Gautam Gambhir – Opening batsman, who has established himself as the rightful opening partner for Sehwag. He has played exactly 100 ODI, scoring 3,351 runs at an average of over 38. Whereas Sehwag is the accelerator, Gambhir is the brake which is why the two have become such a formidable opening partnership. He has scored 7 centuries and 21 fifties with a highest score of 150 not out.

Virat Kohli – One of the younger emerging stars of Indian cricket, Kohli at 22 has already proven himself as both an opener and middle order batsman and although he is yet to play test cricket, he has performed supremely well in the one day game to warrant inclusion in the squad. In just 27 ODI’s he has scored over a 1,000 runs at an average of over 50, with four centuries and 8 half centuries. His highest score of 118 was made against Australia last year.

Yuvraj Singh – Middle order batsman, who on his day can look like the best one day batsman in the world. He hits the ball with astonishing power as his 138 against England at Rajkot in 2008 demonstrated. In that innings he scored those runs off just 78 balls, with the last 88 runs coming off just 36. He has played 250 ODI’s, scored over 7,300 runs with an average of over 37. He has 12 hundreds, 43 fifties and high score of 139.

Suresh Raina - A left handed middle order batsman who is regarded as one of the best fielders in the world. He has played over 100 ODI’s for his country, scoring 2,444 runs at an average of over 35. He has three centuries to his name and 15 half centuries with a high score of 116 not out. Like most of the Indian batsman, Raina can be explosive; cricket followers will remember his 101 off just 60 balls in the 2010 ICC World Twenty/20 Cup against South Africa.

Harbhajan Singh – Specialist off spin bowler who has improved hugely with the bat, allowing him to bat at number 7 or 8. He has taken 242 ODI wickets at an average of 32.84 per wicket. He has also taken five wickets in an innings on three separate occasions. Harbhajan has played 212 times for his country.

Zaheer Khan:-India’s left handed, spearhead bowler, Zaheer Khan comes to the world cup with an awesome reputation whose form could ultimately win the world cup for his country. He is able to swing the ball either way and is renowned as one of the best bowlers in the world ‘at the death’. His 318 ODI wickets have come at less than 30 runs apiece.

Munaf Patel - Arguably India’s fastest bowler, who unlike others has incorporated plenty of control into his action. He has only played 42 ODI’s so far, but injuries can be blamed for this rather than his form. In those matches he has taken 47 wickets at an average of under 32 and comes to the World Cup in good form.

Praveen Kumar - A right arm medium pace swing bowler, who has been recalled to the team after missing the recent tour of South Africa. In 34 ODI matches, Kumar has taken 40 wickets at an average of just over 35, but it is an average that is improving all the time. He can also bat a bit with an average of nearly 17 with a high score of 54 not out.

Ashish Nehra – Left arm fast bowler and a veteran of 113 ODI. He has taken an excellent 151 wickets at a very healthy average of just over 31 and has taken five wickets in a match twice. Nehra had been out of favour with the Indian selectors but managed to get himself back in the squad in 2009 and played in the recent successful series against New Zealand.

Ravichandran Ashwin - Right arm off spin bowler who can bat a bit is a relative newcomer to the ODI scene, having only played seven matches to date; the most recent of those coming last month in New Zealand. In that time he has taken a very impressive 14 wickets at an average of under 30 and has a top score with the bat of 38.

Yusuf Pathan - An all rounder who bats very aggressively and bowls excellent right arm off-breaks. He entered international cricket a little later than average and at 28 years old has only played 30 ODI’s. However he has made one century and two half centuries with the bat and has taken 17 wickets at an average of 37.64 runs per wicket.

Piyush Chawla – Regarded as an all rounder who bats left handed and bowls right arm leg break. Still only 22 Chawla has been brought into the squad to gain experience as much as anything. He has only played 21 ODI’s to date and has yet to prove himself with the bat at this level. He has taken 28 wickets however at an average of 32.53.

On paper, the India squad looks as good as any of the other One Day international teams that will be headed to the sub-continent for the tournament which culminates with the final on 2nd April and the Cricket World Cup odds make the co-hosts favourites to win the competition, something that is very difficult to argue against, especially with home advantage and crowds up to 100,000 cheering on the home team.


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