India's World Cup Squad

No, they haven't announced it yet, and I'm not sure when they'll do it, but it's likely to be soon (Jan 19 apparently), so here's what I think it should (and might) be. Because there just aren't enough opinions going around.

I'll start with the XI: the top 3 pick themselves, and it's arguably the best one going around. Sehwag, Sachin and Gambhir will only have the two practice matches to gel with the rest of the team, though, as they are currently cooling their heels at home, while Vijay is going about his business being inadequate.

Kohli has been stellar at #3, but he will have to move down the order with Gambhir back. This complicates things, as Yuvraj and his ego are at #4, and both can take their time to get going. I think the situation should decide where they bat - Yuvraj first when batting first, and Kohli first while chasing. Exception: Yuvraj first on a flat track, always.

Raina and Dhoni are at #6 and #7, but both are floating finishers, so they can actually pop up anywhere. #7 is a big question: do we go with a batsman or the spinning all-rounder? A month ago, if we were to opt for a batsman, it would be a toss-up between Rohit Sharma and Saurabh Tiwary. Sharma hasn't taken his chances of late (but the series vs RSA isn't over yet) and even though Tiwary did, he has been dropped - so he looks out of contention, which is unfortunate. Yusuf Pathan and his century (just one innings) seem to have nudged ahead, big game-changer that he is. Accommodating him, though, would mean leaving out one of Raina, Yuvraj and Kohli, which looks pretty implausible. Playing 7 batsmen looks extremely likely.

With the stocks so full, we won't have to worry about seeing Jadeja or Ashwin being useless at #7, or at any position for that matter, because Zaheer, PK and Harby pick themselves. Some time ago I might even have said that Nehra picks himself, but seeing his current form (and Munaf's), I don't think so anymore. Nehra can fill in for an opening bowler or be used when conditions favor him, but Munaf, with his accuracy, is a better choice as a first-change bowler.

I looked up Nehra's stats for the post-comeback period (starting 2009), and was pretty astonished at his economy rates (save for 2 series). Yes, there are some high-scoring and some pointless matches in there, but expensive is expensive (killer line, I know). When he's good, he's really good, but there will be these frequent spells where he just comes in and gets the faeces (we like to be technical) smashed out of him. Yes, he's good at the death, but you don't include a player just because he can bowl 2 good overs between 45-50. If you'd done a good job in the first 40 overs, maybe you wouldn't need to shut it down so much later on.

So that's 4 main bowlers, and then Sehwag, Raina, Yuvraj and Pathan/Sharma make one decent 5th bowler between them. That is the XI. The obvious subs are: Rohit, Yusuf, Nehra/Munaf, Ashwin. The others could be a back-up keeper, a batsman, or a fast (not really) bowler. So that's probably Parthiv Patel, Murali Vijay, or Sreesanth. It's unlikely that the extra keeper will be in the squad, so that rules out Patel. Which leaves Crap and Crappier (in no particular order). Sree is no limited-overs bowler, but our bowlers are more likely to be injured (Zak, Nehra, Munaf have the Platinum Healthcare plan), so Vijay may miss out.

Which leaves the squad to be composed. Which means I have to type it out.

Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin.

Can I see some agreement/disagreement/abuse?

Pointless Notes: How awesome would be to see a wildcard like Rahane, Chawla, Irfan, even Dravid? Slightly amusing at first and then the heat would be on. Literally, effigies and all.