MS Dhoni will have to sort out selection isues as Ishant Sharma has been out of form and the wickets have dried up for Ravichandran Ashwin as well © Getty Images
MS Dhoni will have to sort out selection isues as Ishant Sharma has been out of form and the wickets have dried up for Ravichandran Ashwin as well © Getty Images


By Nishad Pai Vaidya


Jan 24, 2013


India have lost four consecutive away One-Day Internationals (ODIs). While the defeat to South Africa was somehow expected as India faced a quality attack without any match practice in the lead-up, their run in New Zealand has been a bit shocking. They have persisted with the same side in both games and it is time they make some changes with the series on the line during the third ODI at Eden Park, Auckland.


Auckland is a small venue, with short boundaries and enough opportunities for the batsmen to go big. It is basically a rugby ground, so there aren’t many long boundaries and it isn’t symmetrical to a cricket field. Thus, India have more worries for their bowling department as that is one area where they have bled profusely. What are the changes on the cards?



Firstly, either Varun Aaron or Ishwar Pandey will replace the struggling Ishant Sharma. It is time to replace the speedster as he has been far from impressive. Aaron seems to be a better bet as he has more pace and can add dynamism to the attack. Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have done a decent job so far and will continue to rally the Indian bowling.


There are also question marks over Ravichandran Ashwin, who averages 379 in his last six international outings. There may be a temptation to play Amit Mishra, but team management may back Ashwin. Ravindra Jadeja would continue to don the all-rounder’s role.


India will not tinker with their batting. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan need to be given time and they will continue to open the batting. Virat Kohli will come in at No 3 with Ajinkya Rahane at No 4 and MS Dhoni at No 5. Suresh Raina’s good little innings in the previous game should help him retain his spot at No 6.


New Zealand are a settled unit and they wouldn’t make any change whatsoever. Jesse Ryder has looked in good touch so far, although his impressive starts have been nipped in the bud by Shami. He may be in for a big score in the third ODI. Martin Guptill spent enough time in the middle and will continue to open the batting.


The key to New Zealand’s success has been the middle comprising Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson. The new kid on the block, Anderson, can whack it a mile and has been the difference between the two side. In the bowling, Kyle Mills will lead the side as the senior strike bowler. Mitchell McClenaghan is close to 50 wickets and given his form, one can expect it in this game.


New Zealand would be happy as they have proved that they are a good side. Time for India to make it an even contest.




New Zealand (probable): Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum (c), Luke Ronchi (wk), Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitch McClenaghan.


India (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron.


Time: 06:30 IST |01:00 GMT


(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)