India vs West Indies, 2nd ODI – India’s Predicted Playing XI
Will India field three spinners in the must-win game?
Updated - Dec 17, 2019 4:45 pm
Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope’s marathon 218-run partnership in Chennai consigned India to their fourth consecutive loss in ODIs at home. It also told them that their approach of going in with all-rounders and compromising with the wicket-taking bowlers, is a flawed one, and they wouldn’t win many games of cricket if they continue to compromise on the quality of their bowling unit.
The last time these two sides met in Vizag, it was a run-fest that ended in a tie with Virat Kohli and Shai Hope racking up sumptuous hundreds. So, with the series and their record of not having lost an ODI series to the West Indies since 2006 on the line, what will be the changes that India may look to ring-in at Vizag?
Here’s India predicted XI for the second ODI:
Openers- Rohit Sharma & KL Rahul
One of the reasons why India finished with an underwhelming total of 287 was the lack of runs from their top-order. KL Rahul perished cheaply for 6 while Rohit Sharma made a scrappy 56-ball 36 before getting out in what can only be termed as a soft manner.
But, unlike the Chepauk pitch where the ball was coming a bit slow, Vizag is expected to dish out a flat track and the likes of Sharma and Rahul, who relish pace on the ball, would be hoping to give the team a good start. Rahul, especially, will have to keep scoring if he wants to seal his place in the ODI side
Middle-order- Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK)
Virat Kohli loves batting against the West Indies. And, if he is playing against them in Vizag, his tryst with the opposition accentuates the boundaries of run-making to the hilt. 117, 99 and 157- these are the three scores that Kohli has racked up in his last three ODIs in Vizag against the West Indies. And after a rare failure in Chennai, the Indian captain will be looking to shrug off the blip, and return to what he does regularly- score runs in Vizag and against the West Indies for fun.
Despite the loss in the last game, the most heartening thing to have come out of Chennai was how the youngsters in Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant fared after the Men in Blue were reduced to 3-80. And, it’s not only about the runs that they scored or the partnership [114 runs] they stitched, it was the maturity in their approach- especially by Rishabh Pant- that would have given a lot of satisfaction to Kohli and the team management.
Shreyas Iyer  scored his third consecutive half-century in ODIs while Pant brought up his maiden fifty. But the duo would be disappointed that they couldn’t kick on and convert their half-centuries into a three-figure score; something they will look to improve in the upcoming games.
All-rounder- Kedar Jadhav & Ravindra Jadeja
Now, the all-rounders. India played seam-bowling all-rounder in Shivam Dube in the last game but the southpaw came into bat at No.8 below Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja. Dube’s primary suit is his power-hitting and if he is going to bat down at No.8, considering his bowling is on the weaker side [0-68 in 7.5 overs], the hosts can go with an extra spin-bowling option in Yuzvendra Chahal and bolster their bowling unit, while Jadhav and Jadeja can play the role of the fifth bowler.
Bowlers- Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar & Mohammed Shami
Kuldeep Yadav bowled ten wicketless overs in the last game, and while he wasn’t expensive [0-45], he didn’t get the wickets in the middle-overs, something that he has been famous for in his international career thus far. Part of the reason for it is the batsmen have started to read Kuldeep well, and the way Hetmyer was getting to pitch of the ball, it was a tough day for the Chinaman.
Another reason could be the fact there was no pressure from the other end. Bowlers relish in partnerships. And, Kuldeep and Chahal are a prime example of it. They relish bowling in tandem and have been the bedrock of India’s success in the middle-overs.
The pitch at Vizag tends to aid the spinners, and the likes of two attacking spinners in Chahal and Kuldeep, bowling in tandem could well prove to be an X-factor for Team India, something they have been missing ever since they broke the pair in favour of all-rounders.
Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Shami bowled well in the last game but apart from the opening wicket of Sunil Ambris, the duo couldn’t provide any breakthrough in the first ten overs. They’ll look to rectify the same in the next game.