Struggling India look for a change in fortunes
With rain having the final say in the first ODI between India and England, the off- field issues dominated the front pages,especially in India, with Ravi Shastri assuming the role of a Team Director sidelining Duncan Fletcher. For England, the sharp criticism from the former players regarding their one-day team puts the pressure right back on Alistair Cook after a successful Test series.
Both India and England look poorly placed to have any realistic impact in the upcoming world cup. They would need to get their act together and get the right players on board if they are to compete. Like the test series, we might again witness a battle of mediocrity with the weather conditions playing a significant role.
For India, the bowling department will see a change in the form of the pacyUmesh Yadav who replaces Varun Aaron. Yadav has some decent performances under his belt especially with his performances with the A tour in Australia and will be hoping to hit the straps straight away.
The rest of the bowling line up bears a familiar look with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami all set to take the new cherry and Ashwin and Jadeja taking over the spinner duties. The Indian bowlers will feel a bit more comfortable than in the test series where they had to create chances. Here, they can sit and wait for the mistakes to duly arrive although this ploy might backfire specially if the batting line up fails again.
England will miss the services of Stuart Broad who has been their most reliable ODI bowler of late. However, Anderson will be licking his lips when he sees the Indian openers march onto the field, especially after the success he had against them. If the weather conditions remain cloudy, the dodgy Indian batting technique will be once again exposed.
In Harry Gurney, England have discovered a bowler who is suited for the shorter format with his variations and is considered a specialist death bowler. With the surprise exclusion of Ravi Bopara, expect Ben Stokes to take his place. Moeen Ali might have to wait for his chance especially with the weather conditions being in favor of seam bowling. Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan are expected to take the rest of the seam bowling positions with Joe Root playing the spinner’s role if necessary.
The Indian batsmen will be nervous and their prayers for a sunny day do not seem to have foundfavour with the weather gods. With two new balls, they will have their task cut out. Although vastly experienced, the Indian batting will need to show lot of patience and match sense
Rohit Sharma and Dhawan will be hoping to make amends for the poor performances in the test matches. India will be desperately hoping that Viral Kohli runs into some form, as this will be crucial in defining the series. AjinkyaRahane who has not been consistent in the ODI will be hoping to score runs and be on the plane to Australia for the world cup.
Suresh Raina is expected to take the crucial number 5 position, although his batting capabilities on a wicket with bounce has always been under question. Don’t expect England to be generous enough to pitch anything upto him! How he copes with this will decide his future. AmbatiRayudu might be the unlucky one to miss out. Based on recent performances, he should be in the team in place of Raina.
India will once again heavily rely on MS Dhoni for the rescue, recovery and finishing jobs. Jadeja will be hoping for better returns with the bat and India will be hoping for some sensible batting from him unlike in the test series where his thinking bordered close to insanity. Ashwin will be hoping he will not have to be part of any rescue efforts and will feel confident of his skills if need arises.
Alistair Cook would like to reply his critics with his bat, like he did in the test series. With Jason Roy and other promising youngsters lurking around, he will have his task cut out. Alex Hales will finally make his long-awaited debut. Expect him to blossom into one of the destructive batsmen in the world.
Ian Bell is slotted to come in at number 3 and his classy presence will help England specially when they play on a difficult wicket. Expect Balance to miss out this time around with Joe Root slotted at number 4 and England’s best ODI player Eoin Morgan at number 5. England will want Morgan to make big runs and finish games especially with the inexperience around him.
With Butler slotted at 6, the middle order looks powerful and if he clicks no score is unachievable. He will definitely be central to the discussions in the Indian team meeting
Why Ravi Bopara has not been selected is a question that is beyond common sense. He has been one of their best ODI players in the last one year. Instead, his place will be taken up by Ben Stokes and he will be hoping that change in format will bring him some luck with the willow.
Both teams will be hoping for a winning start and weather permitting, a decent game may be in the offing. However, expect the Indians to continue their struggle to master the English conditions!!
India (probable): 1. ShikharDhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 ViratKohli, 4 AjinkyaRahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt / wk), 7 RavindraJadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav
England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 James Anderson, 11 Harry Gurney