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Thursday, November 13, 2014

rejigged Indian Team and return of Rohit Sharma !

In the early part of this century, there was embarrassment de riches for the Indian team – the opening conundrum – Sachin wanted to open – Sourav Ganguly was a star and Virender Sehwag too was going great – so who will open was the Q ? 

Today India play Lank in the 4th ODI – the match will also be part of Eden Garden's 150th anniversary celebrations. Stamps featuring Cricket Association of Bengal, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and another of the ground itself,  have been issued to mark the occasion. The three matches have been stero-types. Indian batsmen have been making merry – especially Shikhar Dhawan (as also Rahane, Kohli…) Lankan batters have failed – India is 3-0 and will they go for a white wash ?  A  4-1 series win will allow them to retain their rank atop the ODI table, while a whitewash would send them two points clear of second-ranked South Africa.

Though India has not greatly experimented giving uncapped players chance when the Series is already decided – now the squad is rejigged - Shikhar Dhawan, the series' top-scorer is kept out alongside wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, and Ishant Sharma. Murali Vijay who is becoming a regular in Tests goes out without getting a fling.  Rohit Sharma has returned – Ajinkya Rahane who has done well is there and Robin Uthappa who has done remarkably well in domestic games is a sure starter.  He is going to keep wickets too.  Most of the batsmen in the likely XI have things to prove – Ambati Rayudu has struggled to pace his innings but has recently made his maiden century.  Suresh Raina would like to cement his place; Uthappa would like to make a strong statement – while Stuart Binny and Akshar Patel would like to cling as all rounders. 

Much talk is about Rohit Sharma who will likely return to the top of the order after 10 weeks out with a fractured finger.  Rohit the IPL wonder has been an enigma, he tries to play out slowly initially and slowly pick the momentum and score it big. I have not been a supporter of Rohit Sharma and have questioned the wisdom of having him in the team, given his failures and more questionably, the strike rate….. not a great runner too between the wickets.   He epitomises that there is some learning – with persistence. Even when Rohit had just returned making less than 15 runs in 5 innings in Lanka and followed up with a 4 at Chepuak against Pakistan, Gavaskar was to hail him as the future of India.  Then in Nov 2013, came his superb innings against Australia – 209 in the 7th ODI at Bangalore had distinctly separable phases……… first 50 runs – 71 balls (SR 70.42) Next 50 runs – 43 balls (SR 116.28) Next 109 runs- 44 balls (SR 247.72) ~ so it was not speed all the time and there was a time when he was farming much of strike, but Dhawan was scoring freely.  This 209 runs (the second highest ODI score ever) placed him in a new sphere  16 sixes (a world record), 12 fours (he hit more sixes than fours), 9 twos, 47 singles, 74 dot balls.

Cricinfo reports that India's stand-in captain Virat Kohli believes that Rohit Sharma's dynamism and capacity to build big innings could give India the edge at the 2015 World Cup. "It's great to have Rohit back, because a player like him, if he gets going, he can be the X-factor in the World Cup," Kohli said. "He can win games for you and get those big runs. We know how lethal he is at the end of the innings. His value to the team is massive." Kohli backed Rohit to make a brisk return to form, despite the frustration of a layoff that had been twice as long as originally anticipated, due to a complication during recovery. Rohit also provided excellent support to others, in the dressing room, and on the field, Kohli said.

Umesh Yadav has been one of India's outstanding performers in the series, collecting a series-high eight wickets at an average of 16.37. Four of India's fast bowlers, including Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, are unavailable for this series, but the attack's ability to pose a menace nevertheless means fast-bowling is becoming an "area of strength" for India, Kohli said.

So what do you predict will happen now  and more importantly in  the tour to Australia – the 1st Test of which will be played without MS Dhoni ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Nov. 2014. @ 07.00 am…

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