Why no Umesh and Shami?

From India's team selection to Marcus Stoinis' sweeps, Aakash Chopra takes us through the Nagpur ODI

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra
Umesh Yadav dismissed Aaron Finch with a slower delivery, India v Australia, 4th ODI, Bengaluru, September 28, 2017

Associated Press

Lack of consistency in bowling rotation
India spoke of trying out different combinations after securing the series in Indore. In line with that policy, they rested lead pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami in Bengaluru. Their rustiness, a direct consequence of not being ODI regulars in recent times, showed. Aaron Finch and David Warner took advantage of this and recorded the best opening stand of the series. India conceded 334 and eventually lost the match.
A solitary loss later, it was surprising to see both of them being left out for Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar in Nagpur. Perhaps returning to their best XI was also an indication of the team wanting to secure a win to retain their No. 1 ODI ranking, but it pointed to a lack of decision-making. If the objective is to build for the future and give opportunities to the untested, one loss shouldn't force shelving of the process.
Few boundaries behind square
Forty out of the 60 runs in the first Powerplay of Australia's innings came via boundaries, but not one was scored behind square on either side. This was a direct reflection of the slowness of the surface. From as early as the third over, India realised this and removed catching fielders from the slip cordon. As the game progressed, the slowness became increasingly evident. In their innings, Australia managed just three boundaries behind square on the off side and one on the leg side.
Jadhav, Pandya and flexibility
In an ideal ODI set up, the top six generally bowl a bit and the No. 7 contributes with the bat. Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya currently allow Kohli effective options. If the pitch is slightly flat or bowler-friendly, Pandya becomes the fifth bowler. On surfaces such as the one in Nagpur, where ball stops on the batsmen, Jadhav can be useful as he showed during the course of his 10 overs. This handling of bowlers across conditions reflects Kohli's "horses for courses" approach.
Stoinis' sweep approach
On surfaces such as the one in Nagpur, the toughest time for batting is when you're just in and facing spin immediately. Marcus Stoinus rode his luck and even nicked a couple of deliveries to the slips. Yet, he did something right. He read the length well and always planted a long front foot stride to full-length deliveries. He has also adopted a new method to play the sweep. His height allows him to collapse his back knee every time while playing the stroke, a move that has proved effective.
India's cautious beginning
Given how Australia struggled, the first 10 overs in India's innings were going to be crucial. While teams generally look to cash in with the new ball, India started a lot slower than Australia, managing just 10 singles in the first 10 overs. The stage was set for Australia's spinners to sustain the early pressure, but they failed, partly because India's batsmen manipulated them by using their feet and wrists superbly.
Rohit's extra time
Rohit has often spoken of how training on concrete surfaces has improved his game against pace. On such surfaces, balls generally tend to skid on, forcing batsmen to react quickly. That means also getting the body in line to play strokes. His ability to hit the short ball off the front foot separates him from the rest. He also made a change from the Chennai game, where he dragged the ball square from outside off. Here, he targeted the midwicket region instead.

Aakash Chopra is the author of three books, the latest of which is The Insider: Decoding the craft of cricket. @cricketaakash