The World Cup has finally come to an end. unadulterated, non sarcastic congratulations to the Aussies. They played a tough, relentless, and consistent brand of cricket that led them to winning the coveted title of World Champions for the 5th time. I had the opportunity to watch almost all the matches, except the final mainly due to being in between jobs during the World Cup. I figured I should put up my choice for the best playing eleven from the ICC World Cup 2015.
So here going (in order of the preferred batting lineup)
Who doesn’t want an explosive opening at the start of the innings? This allows the rest of the batting lineup to build on the foundation and not get too bogged down by the run rate. No one other than McCullum has been able to provide this start consistently throughout the tournament (barring the final)
With McCullum on one end, you need a stable partner at the other who can play his strokes, accelerate or provide sheet anchor depending on the situation. Dhawan has shown that he is capable of all three roles in this series.
Smith has provided that stability in the top order for the Aussies keeping in mind that both their openers are prone to self combustion at any point. He has stepped up his game this World Cup and has staked his claim to the throne that once belonged to the great Ricky Ponting.
It was sad to see one more of the elegant classical batsmen of our times bow out of the game but what a farewell stamp it was. 4 back to back centuries was probably the most emphatic way to bow out of ODI cricket. Sangakkara clearly was my first pick in this list.
AB de Villiers
Need him to rotate the strike? He can. Need him to accelerate? He can. Need him to demolish a batting lineup with his fielding? HE CAN!!. AB fills the slot of my fielding all-rounder in the team. Do not forget that he can turn that arm for a few overs to fill the 5th or 6th bowler slot as well.
Anyone who has been following cricket in the past couple of years will surely be aware of the name Glenn Maxwell. He is single-handedly capable of turning a match on its head with his batting. His extraordinary strike rate combined with his decent batting average this World Cup makes him an automatic pick in this lineup.
MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicketkeeper)
Captain Cool MS Dhoni will don the gloves in this team. The second highest dismissals in the World Cup and his ability to as the coolest finisher in the game easily makes him pick himself into any batting lineup. He has shown that his skill to read the game is at least a couple of levels above the rest and the way he marshalled an average bowling attack to bowl out all opponents but one makes him the captain of this XI.
One of the star finds of the tournament. His bowling spell against Shane Watson will go down as one of the greatest moments of this World Cup. He will play the role of the 1st change bowler and his length (short of length) will perfectly compliment the other quicks in the team.
The opening bowler of the team. His line and length have been consistently good resulting in him becoming the highest wicket taker in the tournament. He has bowled full, fast and accurate. In fact he bowled so well that he shadowed the other big Mitchell in the team – Mitchell Johnson
Mohammed Shami has been consistent and managed to pick up wickets as well. That too in a World Cup that was surprisingly dominated by left arm seamers. His ability to move the ball at a decent pace with his right arm earns him a spot in the playing eleven.
The spinners spot was a tough one. It boiled down to a toss-up between Imran Tahir, Ravichandran Ashwin and Daniel Vettori. While Vettori’s ability with the bat and his wicket haul certainly pushed his name in for serious contention, it was the variation and bounce managed by Ashwin that rooted for him. End of the day I decided to go with Imran Tahir, his orthodox leg spinners were a delight to watch.
Grant Elliott (12th man)
The 12th man position would have to be Grant Elliott as he has shown what he is capable of with the bat and the calm and cool demeanor makes him an ideal replacement to any of the batsmen in the middle order.
Notable mentions (who didn’t make the final cut)