After the battering the Indian bowlers have received in the first three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against Australia, the selectors still persisted with the same 15-man squad for the remainder of the seven-match series. While one can understand their decision in retaining the same squad, it is important that they do rotate the squad in the coming matches. Shrikant Shankar explains why.
What is important for the Indian team management is that they need to rotate their 15-man squad. The batting seems to be sorted. The only recognised batsman who has not played yet from the squad is Ambati Rayudu. He may have to patiently wait his turn. On the bowling front, there are quite a few bowlers who would be waiting eagerly for a chance to get into the Indian eleven. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Ishant and Ravichandran Ashwin have played all the three matches and the likes of Amit Mishra, Jaydev Unadkat and Shami Ahmed have yet to be utilised.
It is imperative that the Indian team is reshuffled for the fourth ODI at Ranchi on Wednesday. Unadkat can provide some difference in the bowling attack with his left-hand medium pace. Mishra can unsettle the Australian batting, which is unlikely to lose sleep with India’s pace attack, with his leg-spin. While it is important that wholesale changes are not made, it is equally essential to tweak the team a little.
From the three matches that have gone by, the Indian spinners — Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja — seem to be doing relatively better. Bhuvneshwar has impressively not given even six runs an over so far. So definitely if there has to be a change, then one of either Vinay Kumar or Ishant need to be rested. The batting seems strong and it will not be overly surprising or risky to rest a batsman to accommodate another bowler.
If India are serious about winning the ODI series against a depleted Australian side, then they have to pull up their socks and do better. Zaheer Khan has not been included, so, the onus solely lies with the bowlers in the squad to step up. Ishant was seen as the bowler who could lead the Indian attack, but since the Australian batsmen seem to target him, Bhuvneshwar needs to do more. When the pitches have been so obviously in favour of the batsmen, it is the bowling attack on the day that will win the match for their respective team.
Change for the sake of it is not always a good thing, but the Indian bowling attack has been monotonous and very predictable. India have to make things happen and for that the beginning has to come from a change in the eleven. Whether India win the next match or even the series is another matter. But there has to be a much better effort.
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)