The Indian squad for the World Cup resembles a rather settled look and the according to coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, different players are well-versed in their own roles, which provides great balance to the team.
The top order is perhaps the best in the world, the middle-order looks solid and the bowling attack is well-rounded and can come good across different conditions. (Complete coverage of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019)
However, World Cup-winning captains of the past will vouch for the fact that a side needs an X-factor, a player who can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and change its complexion.
Here we take a look at 3 players who can be India’s X-factor this year.
The Karnataka-man was in imperious form in the just-concluded IPL and could well be drafted to take control of the number 4 spot. Many former players believe that Rahul has the perfect game for this slot and this tournament could be the watershed moment in his career as his stroke-making, when on in full display, is an absolute joy to behold.
Yuvraj Singh, who was adjudged man of the series in the 2011 World Cup, identified Hardik Pandya to be the player to watch out for in this year’s edition.
Hardik was absolutely brilliant with his power-hitting in the IPL season gone by and on flat, docile pitches in England, his range and panache can give India the edge.
Also, his bowling has improved a lot and captain Kohli can expect a minimum of six to seven overs out of him in every match. Also, he is a gun fielder, a trait which is an absolute must in today’s context.
Perhaps the best bowler in limited overs cricket, Bumrah will be India’s trump card in this edition and on pitches which will assist stroke-making, his skills with the ball in the middle as well as in the end overs will be pivotal to Virat Kohli’s plans.
The 25-year-old proved his worth in the recently concluded IPL 2019 by picking 19 wickets in 16 matches for title winners Mumbai Indians.