Bench players to fight out for middle slots ahead of 4th ODI

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Bench players to fight out for middle slots ahead of 4th ODI

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SportsCafe Desk


India team could hand out chances to their bench players in the 4th ODI against Sri Lanka, who have arrived at the back of some impressive performances in South Africa. With the ODI series already secured, it would be the perfect time to the board to experiment new combinations in the squad.

India take on Sri Lanka in the 4 ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium today and despite the insignificant nature of the remaining games, the administration could well hope to explore something productive in terms of the perfect combination by experimenting with the bench players.

Players like Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur have all performed well in previous games and considering the practice sessions over the last two days, fans are expected to see some new faces. Skipper Virat Kohli had previously mentioned that Jadhav, Pandey and KL Rahul would have to compete for the two places in the middle-order.

Rahul has been given chance in the previous games and he was dismissed for low scores which understandably puts the pressure on him. His inability to read Sri Lanka’s Dananjaya's deliveries has also raised questions. Manish Pandey, on the other hand, comes at the back of some excellent batting performances for India ‘A’ in South Africa where he scored over 300 runs in five games.

Kuldeep Yadav's inclusion relies on the next bowling combination the side wants to experiment with. India left him out of the first three games as they wanted to use the left-right combination in Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal. However, with the surge in grooming wrist spinners ahead of the World Cup, the chinaman bowler could also fancy his chances.

There remains a slim chance for fast bowler Shardul Thakur, who has fierce competition in hand to topple the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Part of the Test side previously, Thakur’s bowling style is seen more suitable for the longer format, a belief that he has to change. 

The Mumbai seamer had an impressive tour of South Africa with the India A side as he picked up nine wickets in four games. He said, “In white-ball cricket, you will need to use a lot of variations when needed. Where as in red-ball cricket you just stick to your plans again and again. You have to keep bowling your stock deliveries. It’s more about patience there. That’s the difference."

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