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Monday, September 01, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - Time to experiment now

Win by six wickets with more than seven overs to spare. Wow! What a turnaround? If one looks at the last seven matches played by India in UK, they are on a roll (after incorporating the lessons learnt during the disastrous 2011 tour). The 3rd ODI was no different with the bowlers setting up a low target for the batsmen to chase down comfortably.

Even though the English openers started well, the part-time bowlers as well as the specialist spinners were able to put the brakes on the scoring by picking up wickets regularly. Rayudu provides MSD with yet another part-time option like Suresh Raina. On this day, he provided the breakthrough to the team by some smart bowling. England has been very fruitful to Rayudu right from his younger days - remember this match early in his career. Couple of ironies here - Rayudu was Raina's captain during the under-19 days while Rayudu's initial days in Ranji tournament went topsy-turvy when he had a spat with the son of current BCCI acting Chairman (Shivlal Yadav) - he still does not play for Hyderabad! Hopefully, those days are behind him and Rayudu should be ready to fire for his country.

Ashwin took three wickets - this should have given him the necessary encouragement for the future especially when his performance had taken a downward turn. His variations have taken a backseat (for the good) while his line and length have made a comeback to ensure the opposition was on the ropes continually. He and Jadeja will continue to form the backbone of the attack in the forthcoming ODIs - again, when there is a hint of turn, they become lethal. MSD loves this combination for just this aspect alone - he is able to put the right field to put pressure on the batsmen and choke them further. The opening bowlers are not able to dent the opposition so far - with two more matches, Dhoni will be trying to get this sorted. Just like the opening batsmen combination. Dhawan will be getting desperate every match - with Kohli getting some semblance of runs, Dhawan will face further introspection in the next match. Will he able to hit his way out?

Coming back to this series, the two wins have given India an unbeatable lead in the series - good opportunity for the Management to experiment with the squad. Sanju Samson (in place of MSD), Dhawal Kulkarni/Umesh Yadav (replacing Mohit Sharma), Karn Sharma (instead of Ravindra Jadeja) can be played in this match. This will help India identify options for the World Cup instead of focusing only on the current series.
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