The confidence within that team India setup must be sky high after a crushing victory at Trinidad in the second ODI. Disparately seeking a victory after the humiliation in the final of the Champions Trophy, the men in blue were back to winning ways thanks to a comprehensive batting display. It was time for new heroes to emerge, as opener Ajinkya Rahane piled up a delightful century on a sluggish batting track.
To go with that, the eye-catching debut of Kuldeep Yadav was another big plus, as the chinaman spinner took three wickets. With Kuldeep around, skipper Virat Kohli always has the presence of a genuine wicket-taker, who can turn the game around within the matter of a few deliveries.
Below, we have a look at the predicted XI for the third ODI at Antigua.
- Ajinkya Rahane:
Fresh from a century at Trinidad, Rahane could well make this his breakthrough series. The right hander’s ODI career has been far from an ideal one, with his batting position remaining a mystery every time. In the two games so far, Rahane has been top notch, and another good outing will do his career a world of good.
- Shikhar Dhawan:
Carrying on from his magical run in England, Dhawan has maintained some serious form in the Caribbean too. Having notched up two half-centuries so far, Dhawan now will be eyeing an elusive three digit score. Expected to be a deck decent for batting, Antigua will surely suit the strengths of this stylish southpaw.
- Virat Kohli (c):
The answer behind why Virat Kohli is termed as the best ODI batsman was found on Sunday, in the way with which he accelerated after getting to his half-century. On a deck where all other batsmen struggled to hit through the line, Kohli was in his own parallel universe, as he decimated the Windies bowlers. Each time he comes out to bat, fans expect this run machine to produce another masterclass. Such is the daunting audacity of Kohli.
- Rishabh Pant:
Well, this might come as a surprise but the change is likely to happen in the third ODI. Given how Yuvraj Singh has fared in his past six innings post the daunting half-century against Pakistan in Champions Trophy opener, the rookie might just the topple him to make his ODI debut. Tipped by many as the next big thing, Pant’s aggression and his batting style might just propel the score to rise at a good rate in the middle overs.
- MS Dhoni (wk):
Like Yuvraj, Dhoni too has a sword hanging over his head at the moment. It’s a sad tale that two of India’s biggest match winners in this format are enduring such a lean patch off-late. Dhoni clearly struggled to even time properly at the death, let alone finishing with a flurry. It’s high time that this veteran produces a magical-innings and maintains his aura.
- Kedar Jadhav:
The ever calm and composed Kedar Jadhav entertained everyone with a brief cameo in the previous game and is among the members who are guaranteed a slot. In case India gets off to a solid start again, Jadhav should be promoted higher up the order. He isn’t being fully utilised at number six.
- Hardik Pandya:
Pandya remains the team’s biggest X-factor and with every good outing from him, fans are reminded of several previous match winners. This tour is an ideal opportunity for Pandya to work on his all round skills and he could do just that at Antigua.
- Ravichandran Ashwin:
Despite being nowhere near his best, Ashwin picked up a wicket at Trinidad to finally have some mercy on himself. The off-spinner hasn’t been among the wickets in this format and with every outing, his critics are getting more chances to gather factors against him. On tracks that assist him, it’s imperative for the Tamil Nadu offie to be among the wickets.
- Kuldeep Yadav:
Having enjoyed a sensational debut at Trinidad, all eyes will be on the Indian cricket’s latest spin sensation for the third ODI. Yadav’s spell in the second game was just the true essence of what a genuine wicket-taker had to do for his side. Watching him in action, made everyone aware that why even today, in this batting age, the wrist spinners are rated so highly. He is here, and here to stay for sure.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar:
By far the most improved Indian pacer around, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a ball at Trinidad, as he was super economical, to begin with. His miserly spell didn’t allow the Windies openers to get away and he chipped in with a couple of wickets.
- Mohammad Shami:
Now that he has been warming the benches for ages, Mohammad Shami must be back at all costs. It was a blunder to have him serve the drinks in the Champions Trophy and now that must be rectified at the earliest. With 87 wickets in 46 innings, Shami is well in that race to become the quickest to 100 ODI wickets.