Australia v India 2018-19: One change India need to make for the 3rd ODI
After a successful run chase at Adelaide, India go into the final ODI at Melbourne with the series at stake. Although they fought hard to chase down a formidable total, not all departments clicked as a team for the Men in Blue. Therefore, India should consider making one change, primarily keeping the World Cup in mind.
Virat Kohli must find a way to bring in Kedar Jadhav into the playing XI. In the last two ODIs, India has gone in with five bowling options. The unsuccessful experiment in the first ODI of using Ambati Rayudu as the sixth bowler was an abject failure.
In the current starting line-up, with Rayudu having been reported for suspect bowling action, it leaves Kohli with no option for a backup bowling option if any of the five front line bowlers has an off day. Although Rayudu can roll his arm over until a testing, he may not be the best option.
In the first two ODIs, the third seamer was a problem area as well, as Khaleel and Siraj both proved to be quite expensive.
In his early days as an international cricketer, Rohit used to bowl a bit, and so did Kohli. But neither of them has bowled for a long time, and they would not like to risk an injury trying to hone their bowling skills now, with the World Cup just a few months away.
Hence, it is important that India must have at least one batsman in the top six who can provide some sort of bowling option. In the present squad, only Kedar Jadhav can provides that option. India must have a sixth bowling option and hence, Jadhav needs to be drafted into India’s playing XI.
Apart from his bowling, his ability to score quickly and hit the big shots with aplomb would also provide cushion to the likes of Dhoni, who like to get their eye in early on.
As for who he would replace is something that Kohli and Shastri need to decide upon. It could either be Karthik or Rayudu, as the top three and Dhoni select themselves. Whoever gets dropped to accommodate Jadhav would certainly be considered unfortunate.
But India must look at the bigger picture and use the last ODI against Australia as well as the five ODIs against New Zealand as an opportunity to plug a glaring hole in the XI that severely compromises India’s team balance at the moment, and could cost India dearly in the premier cricketing event.