July 23, 2013

India in Zimbabwe, 2013

Indian rookies have a lot to play for

Kartik Kannan, India
Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates his 200, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 3rd day, March 4, 2013
With two new balls coming into play, Cheteshwar Pujara's solidity could be a welcome addition to India's top order  © BCCI
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India are currently ranked No. 1 in ODIs and one of the hallmarks of a top-ranking side over time is the quality of bench strength. While India get ready to play Zimbabwe without some of their senior players, it's a good opportunity for some of the newcomers to perform and prove that the team's DNA is not dependent on a few individuals, but is a high-performance culture that runs deep. I am reminded of the quadrangular series between England, Zimbabwe, Australia A and Australia in 1994-95, where the finals were contested by the two Australian sides. That showed to the world that Australia's second XI was better than many international sides. India can learn a thing or two from that series as they aim to build an ODI team for the future. Over to the youngsters.

Parvez Rasool

The offspinning allrounder from Jammu and Kashmir has made it to the team on the back of consistent performances in the domestic season. Rasool will be looking to ease himself into the international scene in Zimbabwe, where the pressure on him to deliver would be lesser. He's had a taste of the highest level, having played against the touring English and Australian sides recently.

If Rasool clicks, India would have found someone to share the spinners' workload with R Ashwin. Rasool's partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who turns the ball the other way, will make for interesting viewing in the middle overs.

Mohit Sharma

Mohit Sharma's rise to the top was fast-tracked by his 2013 IPL season for the Chennai Super Kings. Mohit's key strength is the ball that goes away, and he bowls an impressive attacking line. He was handled well by MS Dhoni in the IPL, and that surely played a part in his success. Having Mohit and Bhuvneshwar Kumar - a swing bowler who bowls at a lesser pace - bowling in tandem will give India an edge with the new ball.

Cheteshwar Pujara

India's new-found performance man in Test cricket finally gets a chance to shine in the shorter format. Despite a tremendous List A average of 56.97, Pujara has unfairly been labelled as a slow run-getter. Given his recent successes, there's no question over his technique on tricky wickets or against good quality seam bowling. In recent times, India have missed a sheet anchor in ODI cricket, and with two new balls coming into play, Pujara could be just the man for them.

Jaydev Unadkat

Unadkat sure knows the demands of international cricket, having endured a forgettable Test debut in South Africa in late 2010. He is a vastly improved bowler now, and has forced his way back into the set-up with consistent IPL performances. He has also had very successful A tours in New Zealand and England in the last couple of years. Zimbabwe's spongy bounce could be helpful to his style of bowling, which relies on hitting the seam more often than not. His inclusion brings variety to India's inexperienced seam-bowling group.

Ambati Rayudu

Having been one of the lynchpins of Mumbai Indians' renaissance since IPL 3, Rayudu's chance to represent the India team comes at just about the right time. He will lend depth to the middle order, and in Dhoni's absence, could slot in as a finisher. Dinesh Karthik is likely to be India's first-choice wicketkeeper, which could work against Rayudu. But if he gets a look-in, possibly ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, he should make it count.

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Posted by rmjayna on (July 24, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

Why haven't they given a chance to Mohit Sharma. Vinay Kumar has had so many chances but without a great deal of success.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (July 24, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Nampalli is ever the one with some of the finest assessments. But I think he is being a bit harsh on Rayadu. Perhaps the fact that they both hail from the same part of the world may have caused some impatience in Nampalli's mind ! Rayadu was the highest rated player in his age group I recall. He even had a big hundred in a final some years ago in England against the hosts.That was against a good attack too.It is possible that because he went off to the ICL and left Hyderabad for Andhra before he settled for Baroda has probably made him look a bit of an opportunist. Then again his on field behaviour may have tilted the scales conclusively against him. I will give him some chances at the highest level because he was once hailed as another Tendulkar. Nothing less. I am sure he will deliver if he has it in him to with a bit of luck of course.Then there is the matter of his keeping stumps. He could be a crucial part of the bench considering his finishing skills. A good series in prospect.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

Thanks @Nampally. Hope they open with Mohit and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar today.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Though Rayudu became famous with IPL, from the technique point of view he is better suited to longer formats, especially one day format.His innings against the touring Australians some time back is a testimony to it.When wickets were tumbling at the other end he stood like rock and saved his team from humiliation.I don't think there are many players who could do this.Once given the opportunity,I am sure he will make a mark and put the team management in a dilemma what ever that means.

Posted by PeterJerome on (July 23, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

V Sehwag has served Indian team in an era, where the team was lacking in aggression upfront. He has contributed immensely to that aspect and had success with the bat despite his weak technique, but this Indian team is comprised of much technical correct batsman hence don t see a comeback for dear Viru in the reckoning. Gauti has this documented weakness of the short-pitched stuff and time & again falling over to his offside which have proven his downfall and Yuvi (tough we miss him) is just not serious about it. I think Zak, stands a best chance of making a comeback for the SA tour subject to his fitness. The team will desperately need his experience to conquer the Safs. Otherwise, this team looks a fearless + professional bunch to be world beaters. Its a new challenge for you MSD.

Posted by Naresh28 on (July 23, 2013, 12:55 GMT)

@palavadisuresh - wrong Pujara has a good average in ODI's. Once played in ODI U19 WC and came up tops. For months I have seen one Pujara fan (@nampally) call for Pujara's inclusion. I guess it is a toss up between Pujara/Karthik for a ODI spot. India should try Rayudu as backup keeper to Dhoni in next WC. So if in a squad of 15/16 these names should be there.I feel Rahane should be left as a pure Test player and also has some good stats to back him up.With so few spots available many fans would want their favorite there.

Posted by satishchandar on (July 23, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

Honestly, i would treat this as a chance for Pujara ahead of Rayudu.. It is tough for Rayudu to break into the lower order of MSD, Raina and RJ any sooner.. Whereas, Pujara would break into no.4 which now is held by DK who didn't do great deal to be there for long time.. Plus, keeping next WC in mind, Australia usually doesnt produce 300-350 wickets and tighter technique guys would add more value than swashbuckling players.. Pujara would score more points than Rayudu in this regard.. Would like to see Pujara playing atleast 40-50 games before next WC unless Gauti/Viru/Yuvi make strong claims to return to the 11..

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (July 23, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

pujara's success in test does not mean he will perform that better in odi. Odi is different ball game, he needs to learn and adapt.

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