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India vs Australia, 2nd ODI – India Predicted Playing XI

Will Team India test its bench strength?

Indian team
Indian team. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

It was a great spectacle in Hyderabad where brilliance from MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav took India 1-0 up in the series. In a classy run chase, the duo steered through comfortably and proved a point about the capability of the middle-order. Yet, it is just one game into the series and there are four more games still to be battled out.

The proceedings will now move to the Vidarbha Cricket Association in Nagpur for the second ODI. Given that this is their last opportunity in the 50-overs format before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, India will look to try out a few players. However, most of the players have already sealed their spots and it is thus difficult to fit a new player into the existing playing XI.

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Here is what could be the possible playing XI for India:

Openers (Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul)

Not often you’d see Rohit Sharma struggle once he is settled in. But the unpredictable bounce at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium ended up getting the better of him. He faced 66 deliveries to score 37 runs and surely didn’t look at his best. The limited-overs vice-captain will hope to make up for the slow-paced innings when he takes the field in Nagpur.

Sharma might well have a new opening partner in the form of KL Rahul. Shikhar Dhawan has struggled in the last two games that he played and will have to make way for the man in form. A good performance here could seal Rahul with the third opener spot for the World Cup.

Middle Order (Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk))

It is quite surprising to see Virat Kohli getting out between 40 and 50 runs this year. He is someone who hates throwing away the starts but that has unfortunately been the case in quite a few games in 2019. The Indian skipper is due for a big one and he could well notch up a big score in the upcoming match. He will continue to bat at three.

Ambati Rayudu, despite the inconsistencies in recent times, is most likely to be India’s number four for the World Cup. Therefore, he will need to spend more time in the middle and hit good form. There is hardly a question of replacing him in the playing XI.

MS Dhoni needs to spend as much time as possible on the field playing this format heading into the quadrennial event. Even though there might be a temptation to play Rishabh Pant, it seems very unlikely. Unless Dhoni is unfit, there wouldn’t be any chance of bringing Pant into the playing XI in his place. This option could be possibly explored in the last two games of the series if India manages to gain an upper hand.

All Rounders (Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja)

Kedar Jadhav proved what in invaluable asset he is for the team in the previous match. He was brilliant both with the bat as well as the ball and ended up being the difference between both the sides. The batting all-rounder is a street smart cricketer and might have sealed his spot at number six.

The void created by the absence of Hardik Pandya was clearly felt in the first ODI. While Vijay Shankar is not someone who can give you 10 overs, Ravindra Jadeja isn’t someone who can be reliable with the bat. Thus, the management has got no chance but to play both of them together. It will be quite a battle between these two as only one of them might have the opportunity to get onto the flight to England.

Bowlers (Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah)

Kuldeep Yadav was rested for the T20I games against Australia. But he played a decisive role in the first game of the ODI series. He is likely to get another opportunity before Yuzvendra Chahal replaces him as a part of the rotation policy. The management will also explore the chance of playing both wrist spinners in the playing XI at some stage later.

Until a few months ago, there were questions about the position of the third seamer in the side. But Mohammed Shami, with his performances, is sure to be a part of the World Cup squad. He is an inevitable part of the set-up now and will share the pace bowling duties with Jasprit Bumrah.

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