After succumbing to a home series defeat under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, the equation might just have changed for the Men in Blues ahead of the much-awaited World Cup. The three ODI losses on the trot could now see some players, who might have given up hope, getting right into the scheme of things.
There is not an ounce of doubt that things have changed drastically for Dinesh Karthik over the last two weeks. The Nidahas Trophy hero was very much a part of India’s
The Australian Team
How the times have changed for the Kangaroos in a matter of weeks! They had arrived India at the back of a historic Test series defeat as Virat Kohli and Co. were hailed as the strongest World Cup contenders with a string of beautiful performances away from home. Australia
If sheer misfortune had a face, it has to KL Rahul at the moment. It all started with the talk show where Hardik Pandya’s comments had taken his mate down along with him in serving the punishment. Since then, although Rahul has answered his critics on the field, his fate has turned its face away. He managed scores of 89 and 81 against the England Lions and followed it up with impressive scores of 50 and 47 against Australia in T20I series. As if that didn’t seem enough proving his mettle, Rahul was then asked to bat at no. 4 in the 4th ODI against Australia in Mohali. An offensive batsman by nature, Rahul was bound to falter in that position and he eventually ended up scoring 26 runs. Things look grim for the once considered batting prodigy as even in the struggling times of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, the management didn’t bother to hand him a chance up top, as they did with most other positions. While he is likely to travel to the World Cup as a backup opener, with Kohli stating that every position in the first eleven is sorted out, Rahul’s immediate future has hit a bit of impasse.
Only until some months back, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was counted amongst the two best death-over bowlers alongside compatriot Jasprit Bumrah, but how the mighty have fallen! After a hot and cold IPL season last year, where the pacer missed a chunk of the games owing to injury, his lower back injury had aggravated on the English Tour and he ended up missing it all. Though he did have few sparks in the Asia Cup matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the Adelaide ODI during the Australian tour, his breakthroughs have diminished at an alarming rate. He did show some consistency in New Zealand taking seven wickets in five matches, but his return on Indian soil has been hardly impressing. Though he scalped three wickets in on Wednesday, he had gone for a mammoth 67 runs in Mohali and looked, unusually I might add, out of place in the death overs. To further compound his struggles, India have found an able alternative in Mohammed Shami who has partnered with Bumrah well in the ODI and T20I series. With India likely to start with two specialist bowlers alongside Pandya in their first eleven in the World Cup, Bhuvi could get a backseat with Shami’s re-emergence.
Virat Kohli seemed quite assured and confident about India’s World Cup preparations after the 3-2 ODI series defeat on Wednesday. And while he was believable to some extent, for Australia didn’t have to face a lot of India’s strength in the last three ODIs, but deciding such an underperforming team to basically perform at the stage rehearsal of the World Cup could prove to be suicidal. It is as if the selectors wanted to try each and every player on their wish list in a space of five ODIs. As a result, not only are the fans confused as hell but so should be the dressing room, no matter how much Kohli pacifies that the players are not panicking there. If drilling down the hole in the team’s morale that sucked up most of their confidence wasn’t enough, India might just have handed Australia the biggest boost ahead of the extravaganza. And all the experimentations for what? India
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