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Can India continue their dominance in the ODI series against New Zealand?

Pavan Suresh
801   //    16 Oct 2016, 11:12 IST
Time for captain Dhoni to silence his critics

The Indian cricket under the captaincy of Virat Kohli outplayed the New Zealand team in the Test Series, with a conclusive 3-0 whitewash. Now, with the first game of the five-match ODI series starting from tomorrow at Dharamshala, New Zealand poses a tough challenge for the Indian team.

The New Zealand team does not have a great record in One-day Internationals, especially in India. Last time they played a One-day international series in India they were outplayed and lost the series 0-5 to India. This time, however, the New Zealand squad are poised to turn things around.

With India resting some of their key players for the first three one-day internationals, Indian selectors have included Mandeep Singh, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Jayant Yadav, in the team. The selectors appear to be building for the future with these talented players and it would be quite interesting to see how this experiment turns out.

These 3 One day Internationals provide a great chance for these youngsters to show their promise against a top quality ODI side like New Zealand and cement their place in the team. India is ranked fourth in the rankings while New Zealand is 3rd.

India’s recent form in One-day internationals does not inspire confidence, however. The team lost the ODI series against Australia 1-4. Their next series was against Zimbabwe where they won 3-0. In the batting department, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Rahane would be expected to play aggressive cricket and put New Zealand bowlers under pressure.

While the Indian bowling looks weak with Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni and Umesh Yadav as the pacers, the spinners include Axar Patel and Amit Mishra. For India, Jasprit Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in ODIs with 11 wickets from 4 matches in 2016 so far.

The pressure will be on the Indian captain MS Dhoni whose performance hasn’t been top notch off late. Under his captaincy, the Indian team was routed in the ODI series against Australia and won the series against Zimbabwe.

The captain should consider coming up the order to get more time in the middle which will help him play more overs and score big runs. This series will be a big one for him to prove that he is still the best captain for India especially in the shorter format of the game.

MS Dhoni has been criticised in recent times for him lacking in form and for his decisions as a captain that have cost the team in the recent past. If a poor showing from him were to be repeated in this series, then MS Dhoni might just be on his way out for captaincy, with Virat Kohli potentially taking over as the captain for all formats.

Indian team needs to play aggressive cricket like the way they did in the test series. The Test Series was a good testament to the batting abilities of Indian batsmen, who really shined under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. In the ODI series as well, the batsmen need to contribute similarly while the bowlers need to restrict New Zealand batsmen from scoring.

The New Zealand team have good ODI batsmen in the form of Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi who can certainly give the weak Indian bowling attack a tough time and can score at a relatively decent rate. The Indian bowling attack will have to strategise accordingly to put a stop to them.

Luke Ronchi, in a press conference, expressed his confidence in the New Zealand ODI team stating that New Zealand as a team have been performing well in the ODI format and will not be pushovers. He termed ODIs as a different ball game altogether and stated that the whitewash will be a thing of the past come Sunday.

MS Dhoni has to play a key role in helping India winning the ODI series. He lost the previous home series against South Africa. If he can bring back his magic with his captaincy, India would certainly be a tough team to beat. India needs to play their best cricket to beat Kiwis.

In the first One-day international tomorrow at Dharmashala, the team combination of the Indian team will be important. Suresh Raina, a key player, will not play the first ODI due to viral fever and while the team would certainly miss his services, they would have to make do with the current squad depth.  

It promises to be a mouthwatering clash between these two teams. If India can execute their plans properly, then India can surely beat the New Zealand team with ease and become the 3rd ranked ODI team in the world. New Zealand being no pushovers, however, would be looking to avenge their loss in the Test series as well. 

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Pavan Suresh
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