5 players from 2015 squad unlikely to feature in India's 2019 World Cup team
Entering the 2015 World Cup with a poor run of form, the expectations on India had not been much optimistic. Their performance in the 2015 Carlton Mid Triangular Series - a tri-nation series with hosts Australia and England just a month prior to the start of the mega tournament - was so disastrous that they could not even win a single match in that tournament. With the top order not scoring runs, bowlers struggling to adapt to the conditions in Australia, there were a lot of questions haunting the then defending champions.
However, under the dynamic leadership of MS Dhoni, India fought strongly during the tournament and defeated every team that had come in their way in the group stage. But they could not get past Australia who emerged victorious by 95 runs in the semifinal.
The dynamics and squad structure now are completely different as some of the vital players of India's 2015 squad are no longer in the scheme of things for the upcoming World Cup that is scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales from 30th May to 14th July 2019.
Some of the players from the previous World Cup squad have not been that solid in recent years. Even if they give their best in the ongoing domestic season, their chances of getting back into the squad for the 2019 World Cup appear highly unlikely.
Let us now take a look at five such prominent Indian cricketers from the 2015 World Cup squad who might miss out this time around.
#5 Suresh Raina
With his valuable contributions in the 2011 World cup and some consistent performances after, Raina had made it to the 15-member squad selected for the 2015 World Cup. He even justified his inclusion by delivering match-winning performances of 74 and 104 against Paksitan and Zimbabwe respectively.
After a few months of the completion of the 2015 World Cup, the south paw was dropped out of the squad owing to his poor form. Sine then the 31-year-old took three years to make to the India's ODIs squad. He was picked for India tour of England as the replacement to Rayudu as he failed to clear the fitness test.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman scored only 47 runs in the two matches he played in that series and subsequently lost his place in the team. Given his mediocre form in the domestic circuit and with Ambati Rayudu almost sealing the number 4 sport the doors are almost closed for Raina.
The stylish middle order batsman has thus far played 226 ODIs and scored 5615 runs at an average of 35.31. Raina has five tons and 36 half-centuries to his name in the 50-over format.
#4 Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin, one of the rare talents that India has ever produced, is India's most crucial player after Virat Kohli in Test cricket. But the off-spinner has not been able to replicate his Test form in the limited overs formats since the 2015 ICC World Cup.
The Tamil Nadu cricketer has played 14 ODIs since the 2015 World Cup and picked only 16 wickets. Besides, his performances in overseas conditions were under par.
The emergence of spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the last year and a half has made comeback chances ever tougher for Ashwin. With his Test partner Ravindra Jadeja coming back to the fold and performing well, the off-spinner's hopes of finding a spot in the 2019 World Cup squad are almost over.
The 32-year-old has thus far played 111 ODIs and scalped 150 wickets at an economy-rate of 4.92.
#3 Mohit Sharma
After making a strong case with his performances in the 2013 and 2014 IPL editions while playing for Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings respectively, Mohit Sharma was drafted into the Indian team and was also awarded a chance to play the 2015 World Cup.
Coming into the team as a backup, the Ballabhgarh-born bowler proved the perfect foil to Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami by picking up 13 wickets in 8 matches at a decent economy of 4.98.
Since then Mohit has only played 6 matches owing to his drastic dip in form and scalped 8 wickets. With the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav in the mix, Sharma's chances for securing a spot in the World Cup squad are almost impossible.
The 31-year-old has thus far played 26 matches for India and picked up 31 wickets at an economy of 5.46 and a best performance of 4/22 against Bangladesh in 2014.
#2 Stuart Binny
It is hugely disappointing that someone who boasts the best bowling figures for India in ODIs (6 for 4 against Bangladesh) could not live up to the expectations among the game's aficionados.
Though Stuart Binny found a place in the 15-member squad for the 2015 World Cup with his rare ability to swing the ball both ways on seaming pitches, his selection was highly criticized. He never got a game in the mega tournament as the other fast bowlers were highly impressive.
Now, the all-rounder is under par in the domestic circuit. The likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja are making a serious case for the all-rounder spot. Hence, the chances of Binny making into the squad are virtually nil.
The 34-year-old has thus far represented India in 14 ODIs and scored 230 runs at an average of 28.75. He has also picked 20 wickets at an economy-rate of 5.38.
#1 Axar Patel
Axar Patel was drafted into the Indian team as an all-rounder after his exploits for Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 Indian Premier League. He had been the 'Emerging Player of the Tournament' with 17 wickets.
The IPL performance sealed him a berth for India's ODI tour of Bangladesh in the same year. He did well in that series and the series followed against Sri Lanka to find a spot in the squad for the 2015 World Cup.
With the Indian pace bowling attack being hugely effective in those conditions in Australia, Axar had to sit out for the whole tournament and didn't get a single opportunity to play in the World Cup. Since then, he has been in and out of the squad and never really cemented his place.
Though the left-arm spinner still has a slight chance of making it to the squad, the current form of Jadeja as well as the emergence of the Pandya brothers might make his task tougher.
The 24-year-old has played 38 ODIs for India and picked up 45 wickets while scoring 181 runs.