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After a pitiful show in the final three Tests of the five-match series against England, a controversy-ridden Indian cricket team will be taking field one more time for the second One-Day International (ODI) at Cardiff. Devarchit Varma puts up a list of the eleven players that can arrest the slump.
Once again, pride is at stake for Indian team. The team has been humiliated once again in an overseas Test series and the entire cricket fraternity is eagerly waiting to see how the tourists bounce back in the five-match ODI series, in which one game has already been washed out. There are new faces in the Indian side for ODIs compared to the Tests, and the Indian fans and supporters can only hope that they do not carry the burden of pressure maintained by England after a string of losses. This situation is very identical to 2011.
Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara won’t be a part of the ODIs, and instead, Suresh Raina, the limited-overs specialist, and a bunch of young and promising cricketers like Sanju Samson and Karn Sharma will be seen in the Indian side. As always, like all teams want to start a series on a positive note, the Indian side will also be hoping to put an end to the embarrassment which has followed them everywhere since that win at Lord’s in the second Test. Here’s a likely playing eleven for the second ODI against England at Cardiff:
Shikhar Dhawan: Many would not agree with his selection in the side, given the fact that he has struggled miserably in England. Shikhar Dhawan is one for the future and it is critical for India to have someone as explosive as Dhawan at the top of the pecking order. Dhawan plays with a lot more freedom in limited-overs cricket compared to Tests and his performance in England in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 strengthens his claim for a spot in the top-order.
Rohit Sharma: Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan form a crucial opening combination for India and keeping their recent exploits in mind, India are likely to stick with them. Rohit got only one Test match in the long series and it will be tough to determine anything about his form. India can only hope that their openers come good against the England bowlers.
Virat Kohli: The star Indian batsman, who went through a torrid run in the Test series, smashed a fine half-century in the tour game against Middlesex to hint that he could be returning to form. The England series is crucial for the Indians to get practise of hard and bouncy wickets with the ICC World Cup 2015 only a few months away.
Ajinkya Rahane: The right-handed batsman cracked a brilliant century at Lord’s, but since then his graph has been on a downward spiral. However, he was among those who impressed with the bat and showed application on the English wickets. Keeping this in mind, India will need him to bat at the all-important No 4 position.
Suresh Raina: The left-handed batsman, who is also a useful spinner is a member of the core group for the World Cup, and his positive attitude and chirpiness can lift the mood in the Indian camp. Raina has had his fair share of struggles with the short ball and the ones that move, but now is the time India start building up for the World Cup.
MS Dhoni: His batting prowess was seen in the Test series, and India will hope that their captain continues his good form. But most importantly, being the leader of the pack, Dhoni will have to ensure that the team get their priorities right and do away with the distractions off the field and concentrate on the task ahead.
Ravichandran Ashwin: India’s No 1 spinner, who has emerged as a dependable batsman lower down the order beats Stuart Binny in the race. Ashwin fared well in the last two Test matches, however, lack of wickets remains a concern for the team as if selected, he will be the only specialist spinner in the side.
Ravindra Jadeja: Dropped after poor show with both bat and bowl, Jadeja can only gather himself and draw some confidence from his alleged spat with James Anderson, who drew a lot of inspiration from the incident. Again, he is a different player all-together in the shorter formats and India will hope that Jadeja puts behind the disappointment of the Test series.
Mohit Sharma: Mohit is fresh compared to the other bowlers in the Indian side, who might still be recovering from the rigorous and disappointing Test series. Mohit can bowl good line and length and it will be interesting to see if he can generate some movement on the bowler-friendly wickets in England.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The right-arm seamer had a good Test series, despite being drained out by the bowling workload. With the bat he can smash a few runs, and he continues to be a vital cog in the Indian team.
Umesh Yadav: Thanks to the selectors, Umesh Yadav who had a terrific outing in Australia is back in the national side. Umesh impressed with both bat and ball, and having returned to the national set-up after a missing out on the Test series, he will be raring to go in the ODIs. Umesh can become a regular name in the ODI side as he had a good Australia tour with the India A team and with the World Cup and the all-important tour coming, India are likely to stick with him.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)
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