the return Shikhar Dhawan will add more firepower to a ruthless India, faced with the problem of plenty, as they contemplate a clean sweep of the West Indies in an inconsequential third ODI in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Hosts India head into the final match of the series having ticked almost all the boxes in the first two games, which they won handily. Senior starter Dhawan was among four players, including a reserve bowler, who had tested positive for COVID-19 just four days before the start of the ODI stage.
But now that the southpaw is back, the Indian team might be forced to make some changes to their winning combination. In his absence, the team management opened with Ishan Kishan in the first game and the extravagant Rishabh pants In a second.
After his team’s 44-run victory in the second game on Wednesday, India’s captain rohit sharma made it clear that Dhawan will return for the final match of the ODI series. “We’ll get Shikhar back for the next game, and he needs some playing time. It’s not always the results. We wanted to test it in a game,” Rohit had said.
This means that the vice-captain Raul KL I would continue batting at second base with the former captain Virat Kohli, whose search for his 71st international centenary continues. The hosts, limited to 237 for nine in game two, would be eager to post a big score if they bat first again.
Skipper Rohit failed in the last game, but it is well known that he can take on any attack on his day, and that is also the case with Dhawan. Pant will return to the middle order alongside Suryakumar Yadav, who is likely to retain his place after emerging as the team’s top scorer in the second match following a top order collapse.
In all likelihood, off-road deepak hooda would have to make way for Dhawan in the playing XI. All the middle order batsmen, be it Pant, Suryakumar, Kohli or KL, would be keen to get more runs under their belt and finish the ODI stage on a high.
It remains to be seen if Shreyas Iyer, if he is available for selection, he can make the XI play or not. The Indian bowlers put on a clinical show in the previous two matches, dismissing their opponents by 176 and 193 respectively.
And with the series sealed, the Indian team’s management can afford to make few changes and give opportunities to new players. So Orthodox left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who is making a comeback after recovering from injury, or young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoy could take a look.
This means that either yuzvendra chahal or Washington Sundar he could be rested to make way for one of his companions. Also, Madhya Pradesh Pacemaker avesh khan he’s been waiting in the wings, and the team’s management might as well give him a game.
With pacemaker Prasidh Krishna taking four wickets in an excellent second game and Shardul Thakur also among the wickets, the duo are highly unlikely to be eliminated. So if Avesh is included, probably Mohamed Siraj would have to make way.
Meanwhile, the West Indies, who have already conceded the series, would look to put on an impromptu show with the bat and make up lost ground. The second ODI was the 11th time in the last 17 games that the West Indies had failed to hit their quota of 50 overs.
Their hitters, including captain Kieron Pollard and senior all-rounder Jason Holder, should put a prize on their wickets. In addition to the Pollard and Holder duo, Shai Hope, Brandon King and bully Nicolas Pooran would also be looking to dig deep and get some runs under their belt.
On the bowling front, the West Indies did well to restrict India in the second ODI and would want to pick up where they left off. The Pacers Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph and Odean Smith connected well, but the role of spinners Fabian Allen and Akeal Hosein is also crucial from the visitors’ point of view.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Agarwal Mayank, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (goalkeeper), Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (goalkeeper), Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Shahrukh Khan.
West Indies: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Fabian Allen, Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Nicolas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Romario Shepard, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr.
The match starts at 1:30 p.m.