As India take on West Indies in the third ODI knowing that they cannot lose the series, it is possible that the Men in Blue will look to tinker with their playing XI. However, given how the previous match – on the same ground, panned out– there may only be one or, at most, two changes in the side.
Rohit Sharma: After a scintillating run at the World Cup, Rohit has had a slight dip in form. This is largely due to the fact that he has not quite adapted to the slow, inconsistent nature of the wickets in the Caribbean. With an opportunity to revive his Test career looming large, Rohit will look to score a big one in preparation. Given his partner Dhawan is also struggling, there is more responsibility on the vice-captain to fire.
Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan’s return to the Indian side after his thumb injury at the World Cup has not gone well. He has only managed a single double-digit score on this entire tour. This is an area that the captain might be tempted to experiment with, as KL Rahul waits in the sheds. But with Rahul almost definitely set to feature in the Test series, and India face a visit from South Africa in September, they will want their elegant left-hander to find his feet once again.
Virat Kohli: Finally, the No.1 ranked ODI batsman is back to raising the bat to celebrate a century. After several scores of fifties at the World Cup, and one during the T20 series, Kohli showed his class in the 2nd ODI. He looked in command from the get go on Sunday, and will look to continue on his merry way in the final ODI as well. Brace yourselves, we could see No.43 coming!
Rishabh Pant: Coming into the series, Pant was perhaps the only player who was guaranteed to feature in all the shorter format matches. After a dismal start in the T20Is, he signed off on a brilliant note in the 3rd one. After succumbing to dot-ball pressure in the 2nd ODI, Pant will look to finish off the ODI series on a high as well. Perhaps a good performance could see him selected ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for the Tests as well.
Shreyas Iyer: Iyer’s performance – on his return to the Indian side – with the team in a spot of bother has reignited hope that India might after all solve the middle-order problem once and for all. However, the Delhi Capitals skipper needs another good score to solidify his case for the slot. If Iyer’s domestic form is anything to go by, we are in for another delightful session of strokeplay tomorrow.
Kedhar Jadhav: For a while now, the Indian fan is left with the feeling that Jadhav is being picked solely as the sixth bowling option. The man you turn to for a few quick, cheap overs to ease off the load from your main options. This is primarily because the batting all-rounder has not made any telling contributions with the bat in the recent past. Tomorrow may well be his last chance to prove a point with his bat to his captain, the selectors – and the youngsters waiting in line to steal his place.
Ravindra Jadeja: Six weeks ago, Jadeja did not make it into anybody’s ODI starting lineups. But two excellent performances at the World Cup has changed the scene. Now, we cannot help but automatically pick him. Quite obviously, the absence of Hardik Pandya guarantees Jaddu’s selection. But the 3D player will look at tomorrow as another opportunity to add a point to his ever-growing case for regular selection.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: In the absence of his strike partner Jasprit Bumrah – who has been given some well deserved rest – Bhuvi has led the line remarkably well. However, come the weekend, it will be Bumrah bowling in the Tests while Bhuvi puts his body to rest – again, deservingly so. After a match-winning spell in the 2nd ODI, the 29-year-old will look to continue his consistent run on Wednesday. But perhaps, in the bigger picture of things, Bhuvi will function tomorrow as a guide to ODI debutant Navdeep Saini.
Khaleel Ahmed: He may not have done extraordinarily well on this tour, as per the figures, but Khaleel has held his own. His feisty left-arm pace is a variety unmatched in the Indian fast-bowlers fraternity. However, the 21-year-old will be itching to push-on from merely being picked on variety and deliver a devastating spell that matches his on-field intensity. With Shami left out to make way for Saini, Khaleel may well share the new ball with Sunrisers Hyderabad partner.
Yuzvendra Chahal: No, Kuldeep Yadav has done nothing wrong to be replaced. However, he is an automatic pick in the Test series starting on Saturday. With the series virtually secure, now is the time for Kohli to reignite some confidence in his once first-choice spinner, Chahal. The RCB leggie is yet to feature for the Men in Blue after a lacklustre stretch of games at the World Cup. This alone is reason enough to pick him, and motivation enough for Chahal to shine.
Navdeep Saini: Saini delivers express pace. If we did not know that from the IPL, we definitely saw that in the T20I series. The BCCI have picked another good one. But after having got him thus far, now the team has to trust in him to perform, not just when the chips are down. With the series at least 50% secure, tomorrow presents a safe opportunity to test Saini, ahead of Shami – who will inevitably feature in the Tests. However, with an away series win still not ensured, the same safe opportunity also offers a challenge to the youngster to reveal his true colours.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi