The 11th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is scheduled to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The event kick start on the 14th of February and runs until 29th of March. 49 matches will be played in 14 venues with Australia staging 26 games and New Zealand 23.
The tournament will feature 14 teams. The teams will take part in the initial stages, divided into two groups of seven. The seven teams play each other once before the top four teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals. The format ensures that each team gets to play a minimum six matches even if they exit in the group stages.
The tournament will be represented by the 10 ICC full member nations. Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland and United Arab Emirates form the rest of the 4 teams. The current world cup holders India are placed in Group B, along with South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the UAE.
The Indian Team will be led by the dynamic Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni had played a pivotal role along with Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh in winning the previous world cup held in India. Who are forget the towering six hit by the skipper to win the world cup for India in Mumbai. The Indian team has gone through sweeping changes since the previous world cup with the Indian selectors imputing young blood in naming the team.
Besides Dhoni the team will be represented by Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Stuart Binny, Akshar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma (replacing Ishant Sharma), Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadhav.
Team India’s schedule at the World Cup:
15th February against Pakistan
22nd February against South Africa
28th February against UAE
06th March against West Indies
10th March against Ireland
14th March against Zimbabwe
The knockout stage starts on the 19th of March with the finals being play on the 29th of March at Melbourne.
India kick starts its defense of the world cup against arch-rivals Pakistan on the 14th of February at Adelaide. Pakistan and India have contested 5 times prior to this in the world cups, with India emerging as the winners each and every time.
Based on the team combination, there is a good chance for India to qualify for the quarter finals. On current form Australia, New Zealand and South Africa look favourites to qualify for the semi-finals, with the fourth slot up for grabs. But cricket being a game of surprises, anything can happen until the last ball in bowled.
India have been playing in Australia since the last three months and are well acclimatized to the conditions down under. India played some close games during the tri series against England and Australia. Though India did not qualify for the finals, the tri series was a good opportunity to try the different combination that Dhoni may opt to play when the World Cup starts.
The key to any team is a good combination with contribution coming in every angle. The weak link in India’s armour currently is their bowling attack and hope India can get it right as they start and progress into the tournament. Good starts are always welcome at the opening of any innings and India will look forward to sizeable contributions from Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan.
All in all, India looks good to qualify for the knock out stages and will have to play hard to proceed further in the tournament.
This world cup looks to remain down under either with Australia or New Zealand, but it remains to be seen.