Deep Dasgupta has stated that Australia can certainly pose a better challenge in the ODI series than they did in the Test series due to the chasm between the formats. The former India keeper has also added that workload management of over-worked cricketers should be paramount for the think-tank.
It was a mismatch of sorts in the Test series as Australia, who had an equally potent bowling line-up as India, failed to make a statement in the first, third, and fourth Test of the series to end their 70-year-long resistance at home against the Indian team. While Cheteshwar Pujara operated at a whole different level, scoring 521 runs at an average of 74.43, other middle-order batsmen contributed handsomely to guide India to a 2-1 series win.
Now, however, the colour will be swapped as India would take on Australia in the 50-over format starting tomorrow at the Sydney Cricket Ground. While Australia has quite an underwhelming record in the ODIs recently, winning just three matches out of 24, India has been unbeatable lately with a series of triumphant performances. However, Dasgupta hopes that Australia would be able to put up some competitive performances and the series will be more intriguing.
“I think the ODI series will be much more competitive than the Test matches. Because of the shorter format, the differences between the teams get reduced. But, I still think India
“Cricket in Australia is going through a transition. Every team that goes through a transition, there is a downfall in their performances. But I wish they come back stronger because, for the health of world cricket, we need a stronger Australian team. It’s a new look team. There are a lot of new names.”
While India brought Dinesh Karthik back into the squad in place of Rishabh Pant, they also excluded the likes of Manish Pandey and Umesh Yadav. Most of the players to have been included in the team were not a part of the Test side and that's why the likes of Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, and Khaleel Ahmed would be vying for spots as World Cup comes close.
Ravi Shastri, in no uncertain terms, had announced that the team wouldn’t care about winning the games rather would focus more on fine-tuning themselves for the World Cup. While it would also be important for the team
“No matter how much you want to experiment, once you step onto the field, you will want to win the game possible. As far as trying out things are concerned, you got to be careful about the workload management of the bowlers or someone like Virat, who plays three formats of the game. Having said that, apart from Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar hasn’t played enough cricket lately, Shami has, yes, but that is about it. Apart from Shami and Bumrah, others like Bhuvneshwar and Khaleel, they need to play more cricket to perform well in the World Cup,” the former Indian wicket-keeper said.
“This is modern-day cricket. Not all players take part in all three formats of the game. Earlier, there used to be lesser series, and players use that gap to make them ready. I would have loved to see someone like Ambati Rayudu to play First-class cricket, but unfortunately, they didn’t play. It would be interesting to see how he copes with it,” he added.
While the series is more about fine-tuning for the upcoming World Cup in England, it also gives an opportunity to MS Dhoni to come back to form. His failure to smash the spinners like the way he used to has been the major reason of his downfall last year, where Dhoni, for the first time in his career, failed to score a 50+ score since making his debut in 2004. Can Dhoni use 2019 as a stepping stone to a potential second coming?
“Very much possible. With age, there are certain things to improve. But we can’t expect MS to fire in the same way he used to do when he was 22. He would definitely make a good comeback in 2019,” Dasgupta, one of Dhoni’s competitors as a wicket-keeper when the latter made his international debut, said with conviction.
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