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October 22, 2010
Kris Srikkanth, chairman of the Indian team's selection committee, has termed the victory over Australia in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam a confidence-booster ahead of the World Cup. India went into the game without five first-choice players and their inexperienced bowling attack conceded 289, but the young batting line-up responded calmly to complete India's highest successful chase against Australia.
The victory was set up by Virat Kohli 118, and there were half-centuries from Yuvraj Singh, who has struggled for form and fitness over the past few months, and Suresh Raina.
"It was an important win in the context of the World Cup because it creates confidence in the team," Srikkanth told the newspaper DNA. "When you win against the No. 1 one-day team in the world chasing a record total, it is all the more satisfying.
"The way we approached the game was fantastic. The good sign is that the youngsters are putting up their hands and taking up responsibility. It has proved that we have strong bench strength. It's always heartening to see youngsters winning matches for you. It is a good sign for any country."
Injuries and fitness concerns have meant India have only sporadically fielded top players like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in recent one-day tournaments. With the 2011 World Cup set to begin in four months, the selectors have a rotation policy in place for one-dayers to ensure the first-choice stars are fit and fresh for the competition.
Following the Australia series, India play five ODIs at home against New Zealand and five more in South Africa, apart from three-Test series against both teams. Srikkanth said there was a plan in place to manage the personnel in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"We have held meetings with the captain, coach, team management and the BCCI," Srikkanth said. "We know what they are doing with the board. We have drawn up a beautiful plan in coordination with all sides concerned. We're on track."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?