After the historic series in Australia, the Indian team’s next big assignment is against New Zealand. With the World Cup being the focus of all the sides, this series gives Virat Kohli and management another opportunity to identify players for different spots.
Despite the win in the ODI series, the concerns with the middle order and the fifth bowling option persist for Kohli and hence, the upcoming series will see different players getting a nod to stake their claim.
We take a look at the predicted XI which might take the field for the 1st ODI at Napier.
The right-hander looked good in Australia, but after the defiant century in the first ODI, he could not kick on and get a substantial score in the remaining matches. He might enjoy the pace and bounce in New Zealand and hence, will be a massive threat at the top of the order.
The left-hander provided bright sparks but had no significant score to show for his efforts. His place will not be under the scanner, but he needs scores under his belt to provide a cushion to the middle order and to calm down the jittery nerves in the dressing room.
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The chase-master was in his elements in Australia and looked to be in the zone everytime he walked out to bat. A century and a solid knock in Melbourne only nails home his worth as an ODI batsman and the upcoming series could well be a face-off between Kane and Kohli, the batsmen and the captain.
After plenty of debates and deliberations, Dhoni walked out at number 4 in Melbourne and guided India to a tight win. He says he does not mind batting at any position, Kohli says he believes number 5 is the ideal spot for his seasoned campaigner. On true pitches, where the matches might be high-scoring, Dhoni’s position and pace of batting will once again be an interesting watch.
He played his first match in Australia and looked very able with the bat. He was brilliant support to Dhoni and played a crucial hand to hand India the series win. Also, he adds great value with his right arm, highly unorthodox bowling action and he could just win the race against Ambati Rayudu for the middle order slot.
Much like Jadhav, Karthik played a blitz in Adelaide when the chase got tricky and has the experience to drag India over the line in tight situations. The team has identified him as the finisher and in the limited opportunities he has got so far, he has looked convincing.
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The Tamil Nadu-all rounder was a like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya. He was steady with the ball and on his day can give Kohli a cushion of 6-7 overs. Also, he has a good list A record with the bat which can only come in handy lower down the order.
He ticked all the boxes in Australia. Accurate and unnerving with the ball, agile in the field, and no bunny with the bat, Kohli likes Jadeja and he has done his World Cup chances no harm with the consistency in Australia. However, on the shorter boundaries in New Zealand, he could be put to the sword and how reacts could define his participation in the marquee tournament.
After a slightly iffy start to the ODI series, Bhuvneshwar was back in his elements in the final ODI and got the ball to move around in the first powerplay. Also, he controlled the pace nicely in the final overs, but there remain few concerns with his death overs bowling, which needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later.
Perhaps the biggest positive for India in the ODI series was the consistency of Mohammed Shami. He was brilliant in the Test series and carried his form to white ball cricket and looked very much the part. He has the pace to hustle the batsmen and his skills in the death overs stood out which would put a broad smile on the face of Virat Kohli.
6 wickets for 42 runs and Chahal undermined the importance of a wrist-spinner in ODI cricket. India could rest Kuldeep and this would give another opportunity to Chahal who might be quite tricky for New Zealand to decipher.
First Published: Jan 21, 2019 12:59 IST