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World Cup 2015: Can India bring back glory?

cricket world cup 2015 team india

By Harshmeet Singh

Cricket World Cup 2015 is about to begin. Contenders are many but hopes of the defending champion India are high. With many star players either retired or left out, can they pull it through this time too?

cricket world cup 2015 team india

2nd April 2011. An entire country came to a standstill. People cried with joy. Half of the nation was out on the streets at midnight. Strangers danced together and hugged each other. For a generation of cricket lovers who grew up watching black and white photograph of a grinning Kapil Dev holding the World Cup trophy at the Lords’ gallery in 1983, this was a moment to savour.  4 years later, as M.S. Dhoni and his select group of men get ready to defend their title, even the most ardent fans would accept that a repeat of 2011 wouldn’t be anything short of a miracle.

Emergence of cash-rich T20 cricket leagues like IPL and the Big Bash League over the past decade has changed the loyalties of a cricket crazy fan. With the shortest format of the game drawing huge audiences of all age groups into the grounds and the ‘Test cricket’ still being regarded as the real test of a player’s ability, the once glitzy One day International cricket is fast losing significance. However, none of these factors take away the sheen of the Cricket World Cup. With the stage all set and some pulsating contests in store, the 2015 Cricket World cup promises to be a fan’s delight.

Advantage of playing in the home conditions and riveting form of late have placed Australia and New Zealand among the favourites to lift the trophy on 29th March. While Australia are used to starting as ‘favourites’ irrespective of the conditions and current form, New Zealand has never faced such high expectations. For the first time, rather than being referred to as the ‘Dark Horse’, New Zealand is being considered as a real threat to the top teams in the tournament. Their splendid run in 2014 combined with a deadly fast bowling pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and an array of in-form batsman places them in a good position to come out of their ‘perennial semi-finalist’ record and go all the way. Australia, on the other hand, has never been a weak side. Boasting of an enviable combination of destructive batsmen and fearful bowlers, anything less than a runners-up position would be a major disappointment for the Kangaroos.

Just like all the past editions where they have participated, South Africa remains a team to watch out for. They would be hoping to avoid ‘choking’ themselves to death, as they so often manage to do while playing in the world cup. With Dale Steyn – one of the best fast bowlers of all time, and AB de Villiers – the batting genius among their ranks, the world cup is theirs to lose. Among the other teams who can spring in a surprise is Pakistan. Famous for being ‘consistently inconsistent’, the mavericks open their account against India on 15th February. The team would have high hopes from their formidable pace battery and Boom Boom Afridi.

On current form, the reigning world champions India don’t inspire much confidence even in the minds of the most religious fans. A winless two month long tour of Australia wasn’t an ideal preparation camp for the team. The team’s plans of starting the bowling with Stuart Binny sending down balls at mid 120s don’t inspire much confidence either. The team would be pinning its hopes on its formidable batting line up, led by Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. But expecting them to chase down a target in excess of 350 every single time they take the crease would be too much to ask for. With no Sachin, Yuvraj or Sehwag in the pavilion, it won’t be fair to compare this team to the 2011 world champions. But as a hopeless cricket romantic would imagine, the highly stacked up odds might just be the antidote that gets the Indian juggernaut moving!

Image Credit: vijay chennupati

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15 interesting facts about Rohit Sharma: Hit-Man of Indian Cricket

Rohit Sharma achieved the classical knock of unbeaten 208 on his marriage anniversary.

Rohit Shrama is going through purple patch of his career right now
Rohit Shrama is going through purple patch of his career right now

NEW DELHI: Rohit Sharma’s blazing knock of unbeaten 208 has once again defined his approach towards the Cricket and the way he enjoys his stay at the crease. Recently, he achieved the classical knock of unbeaten 208 on a very special occasion which was his marriage anniversary and dedicated his masterstroke to his wife, who was also present in the stadium at that time.

Rohit has set altogether new benchmarks in the Cricketing world which are undoubtedly formidable records to look up by any youngster. He is unstoppable at the moment and one of the most formidable players going around in the Indian cricket. Once he hits the race peddle, it’s really become an arduous task for the bowlers to hold him down.

With his recent success, Rohit Sharma would be in right frame of mind before moving into New Year and also for any further tours. He started the year with an injury but folded the year with some Midas touch. His batting graph didn’t seem to bog down by the bowling attack of any Cricketing side right now.

Rohit smashed an unbeaten 208 against Sri Lanka
Rohit smashed an unbeaten 208 against Sri Lanka

During some of the past glorious years, Rohit Sharma has been the run machine for team India and willfully justifies his role as a vice-captain of the team. Through his talent and hard work, he has been able to erect some huge batting records and milestones against his name which doesn’t seem to be challenged by anyone at least in the near future.

Even the ICC went gaga over his performance and congratulated him on his new amazing feat.

Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts related to the Hit-Man of the Men in Blue.
1. In the year 2015, Rohit was been awarded Arjuna Award for his excellence in the Cricket.
2. Before representing India, Rohit used to play for Indian Oil. After proving his mettle in Ranji matches, he got a chance in the playing eleven of the Indian Cricket team.

3. Rohit Sharma is the only second Indian player after Sourav Ganguly to score a century in a knock out match in the ICC World Cup history

4. Rohit Sharma was first Indian to score a century in any T20 match played in India. He scored 101* off 45 balls against Gujarat in the 2006-07 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 cup

5. Rohit Sharma became the 1st cricketer to score three double centuries in the ODI matches. Apart from him, no one has even scored the second double hundreds of their career. Interestingly, Sachin Tendulkar was the first cricketer to score a double century in the one day format.

Rohit Sharma is the skipper of Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma is the skipper of Mumbai Indians

6. Rohit Sharma is the only player who has played four finals of the IPL and won all the times with their respective teams. One stint was with Deccan Chargers and the rest three were with the Mumbai Indians.

7. Rohit Sharma’s score of 208 is the second highest individual score by any captain, only next to Virender Sehwag’s 219 which he scored against West Indies in 2011. During this inning only, Rohit also broke Sir Vivian Richard’s record score of 181, the highest score as a captain.

8. Rohit Sharma is the second Indian to score a century in all three formats of the game. The first player to reach this milestone was Suresh Raina during the 2010 ICC T20 World cup.

9. Rohit holds the record for the highest Individual score by a batsman in an ODI format. He scored 264 against Sri Lanka and got out at the very last ball of the Indian’s inning.

10. Surprisingly, he also has a bowling hat-trick to his name. He did it in IPL when he was the member of Deccan Chargers team.

Rohit Sharma struck half century in his maiden T20 match
Rohit Sharma struck half-century in his maiden T20 match

11. Rohit Sharma made a dream debut in test cricket with a score of 177 which is the second best after Shikhar Dhawan. He also became the third Indian to score two back to back centuries in first two tests that he played, only after Sourav Ganguly and Mohammad Azharuddin.

12. Rohit has hit the highest number of sixes during his innings of 209 runs. In that match, he sent the ball sixteen times over the boundary rope.

13. The first T20 match that Rohit played was against South Africa and was a must-win game for India. He opened the innings and his career with a fifty to his name.

14. The most number of fours scored in an innings is also struck by Rohit Sharma during his blistering innings of 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014. During his stay at the crease, he hit 33 fours.

15. The match in which Rohit Sharma scored 264 runs, Sri Lanka’s total score was 251. So, if we see technically then he single-handedly won that match by 13 runs.