Virendra Sehwag and Munaf Patel are back as widely speculated. Team India is slowly but surely converging on its final 15 for the World Cup. Mohammed Kaif has reason to feel left out especially given that Suresh Raina has been given an opportunity to prove himself. Barring some failures in the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka, its unlikely that Kaif will get another shot to prove himself. Even if he does it will be too late because the World Cup team will be announced at the same time that the team is announced for the last two ODIs against SL!
It also sounds like Sehwag will bat in the middle order. This is a smart move considering that his “hit and miss” batting style has been one of the main reasons for many of India’s recent failures. It also means that he could well be competing for the all rounder spot with Irfan Pathan! To play Sehwag at the expense of Dinesh Karthick would further weaken India’s fielding and with Munaf likely to play India’s fielding degradation is complete!
There have been some reports about not needing two keepers in the 15. Karthick should be in the team for his batting and brilliant fielding and not just as the second keeper. He has grabbed the spot which has in past been occupied by Raina or Kaif. Karthick’s recent performances have shown that he has what it takes to be a very useful ODI player. His fighting spirit and his ability to be a clean striker of ball, combined with his ability to pitch in as a keeper if need be, gives him a clear edge over Kaif and Raina.
Romesh Powar is likely to miss out on the World Cup spot barring some serious injuries. With Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh sure to make the team and the return of Sehwag as the other spin option, Powar’s chances are very remote. The other spot in question is that of Sri Sreesanth. With Munaf proving to be “flaky” the team management is unlikely to drop Sreesanth. Besides, the 15 for the next two deciding ODIs does not include any other seamers (other than Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar who are sure certainties) who could compete for this spot. In short, it appears that India’s 15 for the World Cup is more or less decided. Two failures from Viru or Uthappa would mean Gautam Gambhir gets this spot. Two failures from Dinesh Karthick could mean Suresh Raina grabs his spot. The rest of the team appears to be a done deal. After a lot of controversies, a series of victories, followed by a string of loses, Team India seems to have arrived at the best it has to offer.