After the unceremonious departure of the West Indian players midway through the series, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were left fuming over the cancellation of the series, which was meant to be a preparatory series before a long summer down under. The BCCI also incurred a massive monetary loss due to the pullout. To avoid or reduce this loss, the BCCI contacted Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), and now India will play a 5-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, at the expense of shifting the next year’s Test series in Sri Lanka.
In the piece, The Cricket Lounge’s cricket writer Kaushik Narayanan picks three major talking points from India’s squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
VIRAT KOHLI WILL BE INDIA’S CAPTAIN AFTER THE 2015 WORLD CUP
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested and Virat Kohli has been given the responsibility to lead Team India. I will be safe to assume that, irrespective of India’s performance in the 2015 World Cup, it will be the right stage for Manendra Singh Dhoni to give up his captaincy. Not that he is incapable, but grooming a captain immediately after the World Cup will be ideal. And also with about 3-4 years of cricket left, Dhoni can act as a mentor to the new captain.
IT’S GOING TO BE AN UPHILL TASK FOR ROHIT SHARMA
Exactly a year ago, Rohit Sharma cemented his place in the Indian team after a string of incredible performances against the touring Australia and West Indies. But a year down the line, Rohit is recovering from an injury and it’s not going to be an easy return for the Mumbai batsman. His Mumbai teammate Ajinkya Rahane has replaced him at the top of the order and he is making strong claims for the opening slot, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni backed him as an opener. Ambati Rayudu, who has done fairly well in the limited opportunities that he has got, will look to score some runs in the series against Sri Lanka. And if this happens, it will make things very difficult for Rohit, who is recovering from an injury.
INDIA’S PACE-BATTERY: BHUVNESHWAR, SHAMI, ISHANT AND UMESH
Umesh Yadav has been an enigma as far his spot in Team India is concerned. Hampered by injuries and bad form, his place in the team might be questionable. But Umesh has raw pace, and pace will be a big factor in Australia and New Zealand. On the other hand, Ishant Sharma has never been able to cement his place in India’s ODI squad. But, he has a good experience of playing in Australia and .the selectors will back him to do well. Although there are a few fast bowling options available, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been rested for the series, Shami Ahmed, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will be India’s pace-battery in the 2015 World Cup.
It is highly unlikely that the team for the final two ODI’s will be any different from the current one, except for a possible return of MS Dhoni and/or Rohit Sharma. Nevertheless, it will be a testing series, considering how good Sri Lanka have been this year.
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