It’s that time of the year when all roads lead to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The participating ten teams are going all guns blazing with their preparations. Teams are playing series after series to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Players are also ensuring they have good match practice and peak fitness. The Indian cricket team management too will look to make the most out of the 13 ODIs they play before the World Cup.
The Men in Blue have sailed through the first hurdle by winning the ODI series in Australia. After the initial hiccup in the first match which India lost by 34 runs, the players re-grouped to win the remaining two games. Centuries by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first and second ODIs respectively reinstated faith in India’s batting. The icing on the cake for the series were three consecutive fifties by MS Dhoni. He deservedly won the man of the series award. Despite Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, the Indian bowling standards didn’t dip.
The tour of New Zealand is what India must capitalise on the most. The conditions there will be closest to what the team will experience in England, the World Cup venue. It will be a tough fought series asNew Zealand is in red hot form. Cold weather, swinging ball and quick outfield: this will be the real test for both the champion sides. Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli, both from U-19 batch of the Class of 2008, will look to find the best playing XI.
The last chapter before the ODI World Cup will see Australia touring India for five ODIs. Having conquered Australian territory, it shouldn’t be too much of a task for India to guard theirs. But nothing can be taken for granted.
Between Australia’s tour to India and the World Cup, there is the IPL extravaganza. However, key members of the World Cup need to tread carefully while playing in this high-octane tournament. An injury during the IPL will be the last thing any player would want.
All in all, it looks like a well-carved path for the Indian cricket team to go into the World Cup. Players are in fine form and the team’s morale seems to be at an all-time high. As we don our blue jersey, we want the Men in Blue to lift the trophy in England, one more time.