Based on the matches so far, it’s become glaringly obvious that India are the team to beat at this year’s Cricket World Cup. The measure of a team capable of winning cricket’s greatest showpiece often comes down to the balance that they have, and the Indians are looking very good in that area. In some ways, this Indian side has the ability to rival that of the phenomenal Australian side of the late 90s and early 2000s.
The subcontinent giants have always been blessed with the finest stroke-makers the world has seen but have historically struggled to back it up with the ball and in the field. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and V. V. S. Laxman would pile on the runs only for Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra, and S. Sreesanth to undo all the hard work with some ordinary bowling.
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 9, 2019
Those problems are now a thing of the past for India as they arrived on English shores with a dynamic bowling attack, capable of skittling the very best teams at the World Cup. The attack is led by Jasprit Bumrah who arrived on the scene in 2016, with a very awkward bowling action. Today, Bumrah is a world-class act in red-hot form, who is just as capable of being crafty with his cutters as he is of bowling with some serious gas.
The 25-year-old leads the line with exemption and when he goes off, the spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav spin a collective web around the opposition. Infuriating for the opposing team’s supporters, yes, but for the Indian fans, it is pure poetry in motion. However, don’t be fooled by the symmetry, it is every bit as effective as it is beautiful.
When the time comes for the batsman to be called upon they don’t disappoint. With Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma at the top of the piece, things can go south in a matter of overs for the opposition bowlers. Between them, they have recorded hundreds in a convincing win over an unrecognizable South Africa as well as Australia. Sharma added another century in their convincing win over historical rivals Pakistan. In the unlikely event of them failing, the fielding team have the pleasure of seeing Virat Kohli walk to the wicket.
The Indian captain is streets ahead of any other international batsmen and will go down as one of the all-time greats. It is his maturity as captain, though, that makes India the strongest team at this World Cup and favourites in many eyes to win it, including with the bookmakers as they are at 21/10 in the cricket betting. Kohli has grown up a lot over the last couple of years and is no longer as antagonizing and confrontational as he once was.
His wonderful sporting gesture towards the disgraced Steve Smith, when he asked the Indian fans to applaud rather than boo him, was an eye-opener, and for that, the Indian skipper deserves to be thoroughly lauded.
Wow. How good is this from Virat Kohli? Steve Smith is sent to field on the boundary, and immediately cops the most hideous boos from the Indian fans. So Kohli turns to that stand and gestures for them to clap Smith. #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/GBTPaolOXh
— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) June 9, 2019
Great teams need great leaders and Kohli is a man at peace with himself, intent and ready to begin dominating world cricket for the foreseeable future. It’s a powerful combination and one that opposition fans can only dream about; the best advice to them would be to get comfy, India’s dominance is very much here to stay.