The Board of Control for Cricket in India is set to announce its ICC World Cup 2019 squad on April 15 and this has led to widespread speculation regarding the composition of the 15-member contingent that will travel to England for the quadrennial event.
While Monday promises to be a red letter day for some, it could signal the end of a couple of players' World Cup dreams. Out of the 15 places, 13 slots have been filled with doubts remaining on two places -- the number 4 slot and that of the second wicketkeeper. The selectors may even spring a surprise by clubbing the two spots with one player and include a fourth seamer to add to the trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami.
With judgement day drawing near, here are 4 names who stand an outside chance of being selected and it is bound to surprise the fans.
The experienced right-hand batsman may solve two problems at once. He can be India's backup opening batsman and also bat at number 4. Rahane has World Cup experience too, something which the other contenders for the slot cannot boast of. The fact that KL Rahul has been inconsistent nick bodes well for Rahane. His inclusion can also open up a slot where an all-rounder or pace bowler can be played.
The fast bowler has impressed everyone with his exploits this IPL season. Representing Royal Challengers Bangalore this season, he has bowled very quickly and hurried the best of batsmen. Even Rohit Sharma, someone who seems to have more time to play quick bowlers than most batsmen in the world, was hurried by the 26-year-old. The pacer has certainly caught the attention of Indian skipper Virat Kohli who might throw his hat in the ring in case the selectors are looking at an extra seam bowling option.
There is no doubt that Shubman Gill is the next big thing in Indian cricket and he will be a household name in the circuit for a long time. Kohli spoke very highly of him in New Zealand and although he failed to deliver in the two opportunities he got, the door may still be open for him. The Punjab batsman had a stellar domestic season and two chances he got for India was in testing conditions where most batsmen failed. He has not been getting too many opportunities in the IPL but in his limited chances, the KKR batsman has shown tremendous temperament -- he kept his wits about himself and finished off both games in the last over when Andre Russell went berserk. Gill is another one of those people who could be the backup opener as well as play at number 4.
The first match of the 2019 World Cup will be played between England and South Africa on May 30. India begins their campaign on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton against the Proteas.
Here are the 13 members of the Indian squad who seem certain to travel to England for the World Cup.
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Vijay Shankar and KL Rahul.