Having suffered a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan last Sunday, Team India are in a situation where they have to beat New Zealand at all costs to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
While it is a do or die game, the Indian team management hasn’t panicked and made up its mind to go with the same playing XI against the Kiwis in Dubai on October 31.
According to a PTI report, mentor MS Dhoni’s successful CSK template, which is not to tinker with the side after one defeat, is likely to be continued.
There would be a change in the team combination only if someone is not fit to feature in the game on Sunday.
Questions were raised over India’s line-up after the crushing loss to Pakistan but report suggests that mentor Dhoni will have a big saying on the playing XI against Black Caps and it is unlikely that there will be any tweak in the outfit.
This means that Shardul Thakur won’t replace Hardik Pandya in the playing XI. Moreover, decision makers in the Indian team set-up feel that No. 7 is too high a batting position for Shardul.
When it comes to his bowling, Shardul is a wicket-taker but he has the tendency to leak a lot of runs with an economy rate of close to nine runs per over.
Meanwhile, Hardik has started bowling at the nets and he is understandably feeling the heat as everyone is running out of patience.
With chief selector Chetan Sharma committing that Pandya would bowl in the IPL, he has been put in a spot of bother. He didn’t bowl a single over in the T20 league for Mumbai Indians and wasn’t given a ball in the two warm-up games before the T20 World Cup and the match against Pakistan. Therefore, it makes the all-rounder’s position untenable.
Shardul could have still played but PTI quoted sources as saying that the Indian team management will stick with seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar against the Black Caps as his variations, if executed properly, makes him a dangerous customer.
Varun Chakravarthy, if fully fit, is likely to do well against the Kiwi batters and it’s still not evident whether the team management is keen to tinker with the slow bowling combination by bringing veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.