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Friday, December 13, 2013

SAF Series - Rain saves blushes for India

The Indian bowlers did much better by snapping the first three wickets of the South African team cheaply, in the final ODI. But that was all for the next century and more. Missed catches would come back to haunt MSD and his bowlers missed the trick to reduce the target to a chase-able one. Dhoni was also one to be blamed as he brought in his part-time bowlers when Ashwin and Jadeja were having a tight hold on the batsmen. This was the signal for the batsmen to launch themselves and score their individual centuries. 

The pacers have done well in their stints so far but faltered in the death overs. For the test series, it will be interesting to see the composition of the team. Zaheer will walk back to the playing eleven while Shami has done all that is required to be the other bowler with the new ball. Who will be the back-up bowler then? On the basis of the last ODI, Ishant seems to be the front-runner now. Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are present but Dhoni seems to be in favor of mercurial Ishant than the consistent Bhuvi. 

It will be a good idea for Ashwin to take a break from limited overs international cricket. He seems to be lacking the enthusiasm after playing non-stop cricket - maybe a good idea to give Amit Mishra a go in the ODIs. His batting though is a bonus and that will give Dhoni confidence of the lower order's ability to stick around for useful runs in the tests.

The rain saved the ignominy of a clean sweep but will they come again during the test series? If not, what is the plan Dhoni and Fletcher have hatched up for the Proteans? As far as I know, Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma have picked themselves. This leaves one position open and Rahane seems to be in the fight with Jadeja for the last spot. Johannesburg was the place where the carnage of the ODI series started and India will start the first test there again. The only way the Indians can make a match of the series is to pick wickets quickly and frequently. How will they do it? Go for five bowlers (including Jadeja) is probably what they will favor. If only Irfan Pathan was not injured. But then, you can also say If only Sachin, Dravid and VVS had not retired! Funny cricket this.
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