The Indian team would have heaved a sigh of relief that their batsmen were able to come good in the first warm-up match against England, which they won by seven wickets on Monday, after their bowlers had been lashed all around the ICC Academy ground in Dubai Sports City.
As India go into the final warm-up game against Australia today, the team management would be looking at the remaining options, that is to provide opportunity to the players who were not seen on the turf against England ahead of their high-voltage T20 World Cup opening encounter against Pakistan on Sunday.
Undoubtedly, the pitch at the ICC Academy ground was more conducive to strokeplay than most of the pitches seen during the IPL and the first round games of the T20 World Cup currently underway. However, the way KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya flogged the England bowling, it would have given the team much-needed confidence in their preparation for the battles ahead.
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Pandya packs a punch
India went into the warm-up without Rohit Sharma, which gave Kishan the opportunity to open the innings with Rahul and the young batsman grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Rahul, of course, is a seasoned batsman and had a good outing. Most heartening was the way in which Pandya closed out the match with a flurry of bold strokes, which augurs well for him and the team. However, there is a dilemma for the team management here. Will they play Pandya as a pure batsman, in the role of a finisher, and leave the pace-bowling all-rounder slot for Shardul Thakur?
It’s obvious that skipper Virat Kohli does not want to reveal too many cards as of now. But it is clear that he will be batting at No. 3 despite having opened for RCB in the IPL.
That leaves the opening berths for Rohit Sharma and Rahul. The rest of the batting spots will become clearer after their warm-up game against Australia.
The team management would also be looking to zero in on the bowling options, keeping in mind the condition of the pitch and the quality of the opposition. It would be interesting to see if the think-tank is serious enough to play Ravichandran Ashwin in the XI or will they bowl a googly on the match-day come Sunday and flummox the opposition.
The other Ravi, Ravindra Jadeja, has been the preferred spinner under Kohli and after all, it may well be Jadeja and one from Rahul Chahar and
Varun Chakravarthy in the game against Pakistan.
The good thing for India is that any of the 15 players can be picked in the XI and all have the capability to deliver on their day. Only the balance of the team has to be looked into—four batsmen, four bowlers, two all-rounders and a wicketkeeper.
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