Bhuvneshwar Kumar (lifted by teammate) has been in scintillating form for India © Getty Images
India are all set to take on England one final time in the One-Day International (ODI) series in the fifth ODI at Headingley on Friday. India have already clinched the series after a comprehensive win at Edgbaston. Now MS Dhoni and co. will look be eyeing a clean sweep. Rajarshi Majumdar pens down a possible India XI for Friday’s game…
With less than six months left for the ICC World Cup 2015, it is fascinating to see the differences between these two sides. MS Dhoni’s men are looking efficient enough to defend their title after after three back-to-back wins against England. He had to face truckloads of criticism from the media as well as from the former players. Captain cool did not get worked up, stayed calm and composed which helped him and his side to come back strongly in the ODIs after England had trounced India in the Test series.
Injuries have troubled the Indians throughout the tour. Rohit Sharma had to pull out of the series because of an injury and Dhoni immediately pushed Ajinkya Rahane up the order to open the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan. Rahane and Dhawan tore apart the English bowling at Edgbaston and helped India to reach their target comfortably with 20 overs to spare. The bowlers have done well to restrict the English batting line up to smaller totals. Traditionally, Dhoni doesn’t like to change a winning combination, although he might give few youngsters an opportunity to prove their worth. Team India looks a balanced side right now unlike the Test squad last month. Here’s a list of the probable eleven (according to the batting order) for Friday’s game:
Ajinkya Rahane:Rahane scored his maiden century against England at Edgbaston and helped India to seal the series with one game to spare. His measured aggression and textbook batting technique has propelled him to be India’s standout batsman on the tour. Dhoni will look to play him at the top of the order.
Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan was out of form throughout the tour. The England seamers have troubled him from the very first Test. In the ODI series, he has looked more confident in playing his shots but he was getting himself out after getting settled. He is the aggressor at the top of the order and Dhoni is exactly aware of what Dhawan is capable of doing, if he is on song. And he did exactly what he was expected to do. His feet movement were fabulous to watch after he crossed the 25 runs mark.
Virat Kohli: His dip in form hurt India badly during the Test series. He showed some signs of retrieval in the third ODI with a brisk innings of 40 runs but he will look to prove his point one final time in this ODI series.
Suresh Raina: He has silenced all his critics with a brilliant century in the second ODI that helped India to post a big total of 306 in their 50 overs. He came in handy with his part time off spin bowling as well.
Ambati Rayudu: Rayudu came into the team in the place of Rohit Sharma. As a result Rahane was pushed up the order and he was given the responsibility of the No 4 position. He made a gritty half century in the third ODI which helped India to go over the line. Rayudu along with Raina are proving to be more than effective with their bowling as well as they are running through the middle overs pretty quickly.
MS Dhoni: He did not have to do much with the bat apart from the second ODI but he has proved himself yet again with his captain’s hat that he donnes. He has lead this side with more conviction unlike the Test Series.
Ravindra Jadeja: He has cemented his place in this Indian team as an all-rounder and has done justice to both his roles.
Ravichandran Ashwin: He’s arguably one of the best spin bowlers in the shorter format of the game. He has been economical and Dhoni will look to retain him as well.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar:His spell of two for 14 at Edgbaston surely helped him to get back on song as he was finding it difficult to find his rhythm initially in the ODI series.
Mohammed Shami: He has bowled with good pace and he also has been getting movements off the deck. Shami came in handy with the new ball alongside Kumar, so Dhoni would probably play him too.
Umesh Yadav: With his recent performance in the India A’s tour to Australia, he was called for the ODIs. He might get a game as he one of the few Indian quicks who can bowl at a fiery pace. Dhawal Kulkarni was given a chance in the previous encounter and he was not up to the mark, so Yadav might be preferred over him.
The historic series win after 24 years should have a good ending if India manages to win on Friday at Leeds. The past records speak well for India as they have won three out of four matches against England in this ground. It should not be a difficult task to beat this under pressure English side led by Alastair Cook.
Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014
(Rajarshi Majumdar is a reporter at CricketCountry. He played cricket for all age levels under the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for over 12 years. Apart from cricket he is an avid follower of football, supports Manchester United and a foodie at heart.)