India vs West Indies: With Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant in middle, hosts look to plug gaps against hapless Windies

18 — that is the variety of ODIs remaining for India earlier than the 2019 World Cup kicks off in Might. Windies at dwelling, Australia and New Zealand away, after which Australia at dwelling once more, types the run-up to that massive event, with a handful of T20Is thrown in for good measure.

There’s nonetheless lots to do for India — the middle-order experimentation continues and enters into its second yr now; there’s a have to re-evaluate bowling choices, seeing how India want six bowlers at most occasions; and there must be correct second/third line of tempo assault. However that is if you look from the surface.

File picture of Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu. AFP

Virat Kohli begs to vary. In his pre-series press convention on Saturday, he spoke about “discovering the best steadiness in these remaining matches as a result of even the batting order is now settled”. Clearly, contained in the dressing room, there’s perception that India’s World Cup squad is kind of prepared. Is that basically true although?

9 — depend the names and that is the quantity you arrive at when considering of assured spots within the Indian ODI line-up. Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. All of them are assured starters each time India performs a 50-over recreation at full power, and but, there are six spots within the squad nonetheless up for grabs.

Sure, even the first-choice XI is not correctly nailed down and that’s maybe to do with how the center order has develop into a recreation of musical chairs. As many as eight totally different batsmen have been tried at numbers 4 and 5 within the final 12 months, and when the music stops on Sunday, Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant would be the ones in focus this time.

“With Rayudu coming in and taking part in nicely within the Asia Cup, it is about giving him sufficient recreation time until the World Cup in order that the actual slot will likely be sorted for us. We imagine he’s the best individual to capitalize on that spot,” mentioned Kohli forward of the primary ODI.

It’s a bizarre conclusion to be drawn at this stage. India’s seek for quantity 4 is not a brand new factor, simply that there’s extra urgency to it given the World Cup. As a substitute, this search started in 2013 when Yuvraj Singh was dropped after the tour of South Africa. Rayudu could not cement his spot then, and even after the 2015 World Cup when Ajinkya Rahane was dropped. What makes the workforce administration imagine that he can do it now?

Positive, Rayudu did rating 175 runs in six innings on the Asia Cup (common 43.75) however these have been vastly totally different circumstances from England. Whenever you have a look at his previous document, he averages 49.25 in six ODIs performed in Australia and New Zealand, all of them earlier than 2015. Is that basically consistency or inadequate proof at hand? Once more, it’s a bizarre conclusion from the captain, selectors and workforce administration, whichever manner you have a look at it.

The one constructive that comes out is at the least there’s some consistency in decision-making and choice. The earlier seven candidates most likely didn’t make a mark due to fixed chopping and altering. From the Asia Cup to this bilateral contest in opposition to a weakling Windies, Rayudu will get a constant run of matches to prepare for sterner assessments in Australia and New Zealand. Solely time will inform if he’s the best alternative for this job.

On this melee, the Indian middle-order is slated to get an influence enhance. As per ‘the twelve’ workforce sheet revealed on Saturday, Pant goes to make his ODI debut at Guwahati. It’s a simply reward after a formidable IPL season and a hard-hitting summer season/autumn of Check cricket.

The teenager, who will play as a specialist batsman, has sufficient fireplace energy to bolster India’s center and decrease order batting, a trait that it has lacked in latest occasions given Dhoni’s struggles. Then there’s the added benefit that he may also be capable of be taught from the legend himself, and will likely be a ready-made alternative when the time comes.

Away from these two, the rest facet picks itself as aforementioned. Ravindra Jadeja will proceed to fill-in for Pandya because the all-rounder, and it’s a second consecutive alternative for him to showcase his wares and get himself on that World Cup flight to England. It’s the similar for Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, each of whom have to step up in white-ball cricket and present that they’ll carry within the required backbone to the Indian tempo assault ought to Bhuvneshwar or Bumrah not be obtainable.

In summation, this ODI collection is anticipated to be as one-sided because the Check collection, thanks largely to the inadequacy within the Windies’ squad. Owing to their persevering with dispute again dwelling, that is nowhere close to the workforce that would play within the World Cup, and critically mars their very own preparations for that event.

Even so, it’s none of India’s considerations, who will look to warm-up for the Australian tour, high quality tune for the World Cup, and plug the numerous seen gaps in their very own squad.

Click here to follow all the LIVE scores and updates from the first ODI between India and West Indies

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Printed Date: October 21, 2018

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Up to date Date: Oct 21, 2018

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