New Delhi: Countdown for ICC's biggest cricketing carnival – World Cup – scheduled to take place in Australia and New Zealand, is mere a week away. But the defending champions, India, are looking off-colour to retain their title. Let's find out five reasons why Dhoni & Co are not looking upbeat for the forthcoming cricketing extravaganza.
Injuries: Few of the Indian players in the 15-member World Cup squad are still unfit and are nursing their injuries ahead of the coveted event. Unfortunately for India, most of them are not just team regulars but vital cogs in Dhoni's arsenal. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rohit Sharma and even Ishant Sharma are among the players who are still unsure about their match fitness. In fact, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja too has to give his fitness test along with them on February 7. It means recovery of injured players is a major concern for India.
Out of form: Indian team, always relies on their batting, which is their strong point. Going into the World Cup they have strong batting line up on papers. But most of their batsmen are looking off-colour. Indian batting is heavily dependent on Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma (whose fate will be decided on 7th). But during the warm-up tri-series before the World Cup they haven't done anything noteworthy, which is a worrying sign for Men in Blue.
Weak bowling attack: World Cup will be played in Trans-Tasman nations, and if we see Indian bowlers' recent performances on these shores, it's quite disappointing. If their seamers flopped badly then tweakers too haven't proved their mettle. On top of it two crucial bowlers – Bhuvi and Ishant – are still unsure about their fitness due to which Indian bowling line-up is looking vulnerable.
Less experience: In the current Indian World Cup squad, mere four players were part of the World Cup 2011 squad – Dhoni, Raina, R Ashwin and Virat Kohli. Rest of the players will be playing in their maiden World Cup as Indian national selectors have decided to go for a young team and in that process dropped few experienced campaigners in Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and few more. It means most of the players lack the experience of playing in the mega ICC event.
Lack of utility all-rounders: India are not known for producing genuine all-rounders. And on top of it, ignoring a player of Yuvraj's calibre from the World Cup squad means they have limited options on that front. They have picked rookie Axar Patel, Jadeja and Stuart Binny above Yuvraj. But none of them is looking promising enough, at least for now, to give Dhoni an option to play an extra batsman or bowler which might make life difficult for Team India.