What’s the story?
In his blog for the Times Group, VVS Laxman said that the only spot of bother for the Indian team leading up to the final of the Champions Trophy is the fifth bowler. He praised Kedar Jadhav’s performance in India’s semi-final win against Bangladesh, but believes that the fifth bowler conundrum is still not completely solved.
“India will hope Hardik Pandya raises his bowling level, because, to me, the fifth bowler is the only potential weak link in the side. Otherwise, as they displayed on Thursday, India are a powerful force perennially on the upsurge,” wrote the former Indian batsman.
Laxman was full of praise for Jadhav’s crucial spell in the semi-final, where he scalped the wickets of two set batsmen to tilt the game in India’s favour.
“Kedar is a street-smart bowler. Short in stature, he delivers the ball with a round-arm action so that it skids on to the batsman. His length is neither full enough nor short enough for batsmen to get underneath the ball or play off the back foot with any authority, which is why he stacks up dot-balls quickly,” Laxman added.
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The only change India have made in the playing XI so far in the tournament is when they replaced Umesh Yadav with Ravichandran Ashwin before their group match against South Africa.
Virat Kohli’s batting unit is clicking well and his bowlers are providing him with at least 40 good overs in every game. However, as Laxman pointed out, the remaining 10 overs have been a concern for the Indian skipper.
Writing about Kohli and his form, Laxman stated that the Indian skipper’s knock against Bangladesh was easily his best innings of the tournament. Furthermore, he added that the 96 unbeaten runs that he scored in the semi-final have set him up beautifully for the final clash against arch-rivals, Pakistan, on Sunday (June 18).
The CAC member also believes that this Champions Trophy, which has been full of surprises and unprecedented results, deserves a final between the two Asian giants.
The India-Pakistan encounter is sure to be an intense one. It is the first time the two nations will meet each other in a 50-over final and Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed will look to create an impact from the outset.
The match is scheduled to start at 10:30 AM local time (3:30 PM IST) at The Oval in London.
Laxman has got it spot on once again with his analysis. While India are the overwhelming favourites for the final, the only chink in their armour is the fifth bowler. Pandya hasn’t completed his spell of 10 overs even once in the entire tournament and that has been a cause of concern in the Indian camp.
Yuvraj Singh, who is in the team as an all-rounder, has not bowled a single delivery in the Champions Trophy so far.Published 17 Jun 2017, 13:51 IST