“We could definitely consider making changes as we have nothing to lose now.” This was Virat Kohli after India’s loss to New Zealand at the Eden Park on Saturday. In a sense, he gave an indication that there would be some shuffling in the team-sheet for the final ODI at Mount Maunganui.
This is how the playing XI would look like for the upcoming duel.
Prithvi Shaw: He got out in Auckland just when he looked like he had got the measure of the conditions and the bowling on offer. You could attribute it to his inexperience, and also the fact that the youngster was making a tentative return to international cricket after an injury lay-off.
Manish Pandey: Considering the kind of form that he has showcased in the T20-leg of this series, it would just be criminal to leave Manish Pandey out of the playing XI. While he generally bats in the lower middle-order, asking him to open the innings with Shaw will not be such a bad idea. Having two ultra-aggressive openers might just work to India’s advantage.
Virat Kohli: The Indian captain had endured a pretty harrowing time in this series so far. In Auckland, he looked all at sea against the wiles of Tim Southee. Expect him to turn a corner on Tuesday.
Shreyas Iyer: He has been the find of the tour so far, his runs and effervescent fielding winning him plaudits. Iyer would rue his inability in closing the chase in Auckland. However, if a similar opportunity presents itself in Mount Maunganui, he will make sure that he sees his team cross the finish line.
KL Rahul (wk): Despite the rare failure in the previous game, Rahul lends the much-needed solidity at No.5.
Shivam Dube: The all-rounder will get another chance to redeem himself and show the world that he is much more than just someone who concedes 34 runs in an over. The good thing is that the team management has unflinching faith in him. Now, it’s up to Dube to cash in on his opportunity.
Ravindra Jadeja: With his accurate bowling, electric fielding and crucial knocks down the order, it’s difficult to look beyond Ravindra Jadeja in the shorter formats. He is also the reason why Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have not featured together in a game since the 2019 World Cup.
Navdeep Saini: The pacer with his extra yard of pace and his ability to hurl yorkers could make him Kohli’s go-to man at Mount Maunganui. But more than the bowling, it’s the 45 runs that he scored in Auckland that showcased his game awareness, maturity and the stomach for a fight.
Yuzvendra Chahal: The manner in which Ross Taylor and Tom Latham tore into Kuldeep Yadav in the first ODI, prompted Yuzvendra Chahal’s return in Auckland. The leggie is expected to retain his spot.
Mohammed Shami: Jasprit Bumrah needs to be rested for this game so that he returns fresh for the Test series. So, Shami, who was rested for the Auckland game, will come in as his replacement.
Shardul Thakur: He may not have the pace of either Shami or Saini. But Shardul Thakur has a wonderful array of slower deliveries — from the knuckleball to the off-cutters — makes him a handy bowler in this format.
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