Saturday, 11 October 2014

2nd ODI: Can India square it up at Kotla?

NEW DELHI: Umesh Yadav bowled his heart out in between lengthy deliberations with coach Duncan Fletcher as Mohammed Shami opted to skip India's nets sessions on Friday.

It was not Shami, though, but another absentee pacer at nets who thrust himself back into the spotlight on the eve of the second ODI against West Indies: Ishant Sharma, who last played an ODI in January, has come in as replacement for Mohit Sharma, who has a shin injury.

The decision is debatable, at best, since Ishant's one-day career has had more starts and stops than the Delhi traffic. More than any new-found confidence in Ishant's limited-overs skills following his success in the Tests in England, the move is an indication of the think tank's need for some experience in the bowling ranks.

Handed their fourth-biggest ODI defeat in terms of runs in Kochi, that too at the hands of a team grappling with payment issues and till recently considered pleasantly palatable fodder for India's batsmen, India unexpectedly have a fight on their hands in this series.

With the bowlers having leaked 81 runs in the last 10 overs in Kochi, and 52 in the Batting Powerplay, Mohit's absence further hampers skipper Dhoni.

What Ishant brings to the table is more pace, more experience and hopefully some wicket-taking ability, even though his figures don't inspire confidence - the Delhi pacer only has eight wickets in seven ODIs in the past year, at an economy rate of 6.87.

The numbers also don't reveal how wayward he can be in the limited-overs format. It's a penchant which has often cost him his place in the past. With India needing more teeth at the death, it doesn't help that in Mohali in October 2013 Ishant was hit for 30 runs in the 48th over by James Faulkner.

Having missed the Asia Cup, the Bangladesh tour and the ODIs in England, Ishant's accidental inclusion, extra nip and ability to hit the deck is clearly thinking ahead to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But if he plays, what sort of signal will it send to Umesh Yadav? And of what use is a senior bowler if he merely warms the bench?

It's a Hobson's choice for the team management but luckily India are playing a visiting team which seems taken aback by its own commanding show in Kochi.

"We've set a standard. That was the best all-round game we've played in a long time," said Windies skipper Dwayne Bravo.

"Let's see if we can maintain it. The challenge is to see if we can come close to replicating that performance."

Now that's an outlook which should please India's struggling batsmen on a purportedly run friendly Kotla track. Dhoni,Ishant Sharma,India vs West Indies,Dwayne Bravo,2nd ODI

Stay updated on the go with The Times of India’s mobile apps. Click here to download it for your device.



Post a Comment