Without Plan B, Men in Blue will need their A-Game to save the ODI series
India’s ailing bowling unit will have little time to regroup and have limited resources to pull back in game two here on Sunday and save the ODI series against a turbocharged Australia.
It wasn’t just about losing – about 66 runs – but also about the way the home team revealed India’s empty all-rounder closet, which will give Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri numerous points to think about.
Hardik Pandya’s 76-ball-90 was a good inning at best, but just like the 2017 Champions Trophy final, the glitzy punch would never help India win the competition.
As an insult to the injury, Pandya openly admitted that he won’t be bowling anytime soon, and even if he turns his arm it is likely to be 20 world championships
Without a backup all-rounder or Plan B, India needs to execute its Plan A perfectly.
With this, Kohli has bowlers who can’t beat and a top order in which nobody can bowl. Kohli rolled once or twice, but that’s history for the skipper.
With Australia’s top three – Captain Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith – bouncing off immediately, Jasprit Bumrah and Company have no choice but to record the pieces and present themselves better on a promising flick of being a belter.
It is highly unlikely that India’s combination will change unless both Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini are declared unfit.
The duo conceded a total of 172 runs in 20 overs between them and the wiry wrist spinner left the field after sustaining an injury on the field shortly after he finished his spell.
Saini, on the other hand, has back problems and Thangarasu Natarajan was included in the 50-over squad as cover.
If excluded, Shardul Thakur could replace Saini with decent hitting skills and Kuldeep Yadav’s inclusion will be a forced change.
For Australia, it is possible that the highly rated all-rounder Cameron Green will be rewarded with an ODI cap, as Marcus Stoinis had an incidental burden in the first game.
While a five-bowler theory certainly hurts India, some of the shot choices above left something to be desired in that order.
Especially Shreyas Iyer, whose dismissal was an embarrassing sight when he clumsily fought against a targeted bouncer from Josh Hazlewood.
Even for Mayank Agarwal, an additional leap was his undoing, but he is too good a player to fail consistently.
Skipper Kohli, the man adored by the Australian team, the media and the public, would love to play an ODI punch, the glimpses of which were shown during his 21st birthday in the first ODI.
The lack of a sixth bowling option will put tremendous pressure on Bumrah, whose previous form of ODI has abandoned him since returning from his stress injury.
While brilliant in the IPL, just like in the New Zealand series in February at the SCG, the Gujarat slinger looked like a pedestrian at best.
Hardik Pandya, India National Cricket Team, Cricket, One Day International, Australian Men’s Cricket Team, Virat Kohli, Bowling (cricket)
World News – USA – Time is running out for India from