India, currently second in the one-day world rankings, were handed a boost with the news that the injured Sachin Tendulkar has been included in their fifteen-man squad for the upcoming World Cup next month. Despite straining a hamstring in this weekend's ODI win against South Africa, he has been included in the squad expected to travel – great news for both him and for India as a whole.
Tendulkar is the world's top run scorer in ODIs with over 17,000 runs, including 46 centuries and 93 half centuries, and as well as being a fantastic athlete, he is also a national icon back in his homeland, and his availability will be seen as a key component to winning a tournament which many pundits and fans around the globe fancy them for and the Cricket World Cup odds reflect this.
India are looking in good shape for the World Cup with their latest warm-up reaching a thrilling and satisfying climax as they beat South Africa by just one run on Saturday. Despite the hosts having seven overs left to find their required runs for victory, a catch by Yuvraj Singh meant that India managed to level the series. This winning habit – which seemed to have deserted them following their heavy defeat in the first ODI – will be essential when it comes to building confidence in time for the World Cup.
The Indian selectors are hoping to put a great deal of emphasis on their reputation as a nation of great spinners, as they name two extra spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin and Piyush Chawla – in addition to the spin king that is Harbhajan Singh, and chairman of selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, has admitted that they are expecting to really make a mark on the tournament.
"This team has been doing brilliantly in the last few years… Of course, there will be tremendous pressure on the players – I really pity them! Let's hope and pray that the team wins the World Cup," he said.
Many people have made India 2011 ICC World Cup tips, and on home soil they should make a big impression.
Whatever happens with the fitness of Tendulkar, expect India to be one of the teams that qualify for the semi-finals – but should the man who has scored a massive 4,000 more runs than his nearest challenger in the one-day form of the game be fit, they seemingly have it all.