In his predicted playing XI of team India, former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke has picked Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin as India's trump cards for the tournament. He, though, excluded in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the last Champions Trophy hero Shikhar Dhawan from his playing XI.
Clarke believes India is one of the favorites in the tournament and has the right balance of both bat and ball to defend their title. He thinks that India's biggest strength is their spin bowling duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and the English conditions might be conducive to their bowling styles.
"Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are going to be two huge weapons for India in England depending on the weather conditions there. If they are getting good summer, the wickets will be dry and I think spin will play a part. Even if it swings there, I think India have got top quality fast bowlers whom they can
While Jadeja and Ashwin were his picks amongst the bowlers he picked Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane to open the innings for India. Sharma seems a controversial choice based on his poor performance in the IPL but Rahane has done a decent job of opening the innings for the RPS side. Clarke seemed to be particularly impressed with Rahane's playing style against the swinging deliveries. Although there have been talks of Shikhar Dhawan making a comeback as an opener for the Indian side, Clarke seems to think otherwise.
He said,"I think if KL Rahul is not completely fit, India will not pick him. It is a big loss but India
The Aussie seemed to be confident about MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh starting for India as their experience would come in handy throughout the tournament. He suggested Kohli bat at 3 and chose Manish Pandey and Kedhar Jadhav for the 6th and 7th spot.
"No brainer at No.3, Virat Kohli as captain, Yuvraj Singh at No.4. I think Yuvraj has earned his place, he is experienced. I would go with MS Dhoni at No. 5. He is experienced and he's still the best keeper in the Indian team. At No.6, I would pick Manish Pandey and then Kedar Jadhav at No.7," quoted Clarke.
The pace bowling segment for Clarke's XI included Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Umesh Yadav. He chose to ignore the purple cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar from his XI and it seems as if the SRH players would have to pull off something really impressive to get into his playing XI.
India or West Indies? Who will win?
WI hold a 60-53 H2H advantage over IND historically but in last 10 completed games between them , IND have won 7. IND has also won all last 5 games at this venue.