India have made things interesting out of nowhere thanks to a dismal batting display in Antigua on Sunday. With the series still in India’s favor by 2-1, a victory for the men in blue will seal the series. However, if the hosts go on to upstage India for one more time, they will colossally enhance their chances of gaining an automatic selection for the next World Cup.
For India however, the focus shall remain on the playing XI. The move to have Dinesh Karthik ahead of Rishab Pant was flabbergasting to say the least and everyone witnessed the former’s struggles on a slow two paced surface. With the series on the line, we have a look at the predicted Indian XI for the final ODI at Jamaica.
- Ajinkya Rahane:
Rahane has been in the form of his life in this format, having amassed more than 250 runs already in the series so far. With four scores in excess of 50, the elegant opener will be eager to make it a complete five with the last match to be played. He has already surpassed Rohit Sharma’s tally of the 2011 series to score the most amount of runs in a bilateral series in the West Indies.
- Shikhar Dhawan:
Two superb performances have been followed by two rare failures for this flamboyant left hander. With the final game to be played, it will be extremely integral for India’s chances that Dhawan comes to the party soon. It’s just a matter of getting his eye in, as if he does that, India are likely to end up winning the game.
- Virat Kohli (c):
Kohli’s weakness to control his instincts against the short pitched stuff was evident in the previous two games as he was dismissed on similar deliveries. Undoubtedly India’s biggest asset in this format, the captain needs to lead from the front in the all important game. It’s been a long time now since Kohli’s standards that he got to the three figure mark. Jamaica could well witness one tomorrow.
- Yuvraj Singh:
If wiser and saner heads are to prevail, Yuvraj Singh should walk back into the playing XI if he’s fit. The southpaw injured his hamstring in the third ODI and thus missed the previous game. With his replacement struggling terribly, recalling Yuvraj is just a no brainer.
- MS Dhoni (wk):
Dhoni has come under severe criticism for his batting display in the fourth ODI. The veteran’s 114 balls vigil of 54 was a messy affair as he struggled miserably against the slow bowlers. His decision to go for the big shot in the penultimate over proved to be costly as India lost the match. Only a strong batting performance can get back Dhoni’s confidence now.
- Kedar Jadhav:
To be fair to the right hander, the ball he received on Sunday was quite good and more than that, it was a fine catch from wicketkeeper Shai Hope to dismiss him. Having said that, India needs a reliable finisher down the order, and Jadhav is clearly that candidate.
- Hardik Pandya:
The pressure mounted due to Dhoni’s sluggish knock got to Pandya as the Baroda all rounder was castled round his legs by Holder in the previous game. With the ball though, Pandya was simply superb picking up a couple of wickets. With the bat though, he would want to spend some time in the middle before exploding.
- R. Ashwin:
Considering Ravindra Jadeja’s atrocious performance in the game gone by, R. Ashwin should walk back into the team. Ashwin was among the wickets till the third ODI and bowled quite well, while also keeping a check on the run rate.
- Kuldeep Yadav:
By far India’s biggest positive in the series, Yadav has been an absolute sensation for the men in blue. In each game, he has picked up wickets in every spell and turned the game for his side. Another superb performance from him is expected for the final ODI.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar:
Having missed the previous ODI, Kumar will be keen to strike right at the top with the new ball. As a whole, he has been brilliant for India in the time gone by and this series has reflected just that.
- Umesh Yadav:
Yadav is a genuine wicket taker in any condition and stage of the game. Keeping in mind the fact that he was among the wickets at Antigua, Yadav should be retained in the playing XI ahead of Mohammad Shami. He has looked all over the Windies opener Evin Lewis in the series so far.