How India should pick their top 4 in the match against New Zealand
Dhawan boasts a solid track record in ICC tournaments, (1238 runs at an average of 65.15 and a strike rate close to 100) and his void would be a difficult one to fill. Rishabh Pant has been called in, but it is yet to see whether he will make it to the playing XI or not.
The news of Shikhar Dhawan’s injury came as a huge blow to the Indian cricket team, which was otherwise having a great run in the World Cup. Dhawan suffered a thumb fracture in the previous match, where he scored a match winning century against the World Champions Australia. He has been reportedly ruled out for at least the next two matches.
Dhawan boasts a solid track record in ICC tournaments, (1238 runs at an average of 65.15 and a strike rate close to 100) and his void would be a difficult one to fill. Rishabh Pant has been called in, but it is yet to be seen whether he will make it to the playing XI or not.
India will be taking on the table-toppers New Zealand on June 13, Thursday. We will look at various options available at India’s disposal, in the absence of Dhawan.
Option 1 - Dinesh Karthik in at number 4.
India can make KL Rahul open with Rohit Sharma and play Dinesh Karthik at number 4. Rahul has always been a top order player and had scored a century in the warm-up match against Bangladesh. Karthik’s presence will bring solidity to the middle order as well.
Karthik’s and Hardik Pandya’s positions can be interchanged according to the match situation. Pandya had scored a blistering 48 runs off 27 balls in the previous game and is in the form of his life. Hence, it wouldn’t be wise to make him bat lower down the order, at number 6 or 7.
Karthik had proven himself in the past as not only a solid middle order player but also as a dependable finisher who could strike from ball one, and hence can bat in the lower middle order, if the situation demands.
In that case, both Pant and Vijay Shankar will have to sit out of the playing eleven.
Option 2 - Play Rishabh Pant.
Pant had amassed 488 runs at a strike rate in excess of 160 in the recently concluded IPL. India could consider picking him as an opener and continue with Rahul at number 4. Pant will bring the left-right combination at the top and can score at a good pace as well.
He can also bat at number 4, letting Rahul open the innings. But for that to happen, Pandya will have to bat lower down the order, which is unlikely considering the current scenario. However, in the case of a collapse at the top, that combination is also possible.
Option 3. Vijay Shankar and KL Rahul/Pant to make the cut.
India could open with either Rahul or Pant and play Vijay Shankar in the middle order. Shankar was selected in the 15-member squad for the World Cup. He will provide one more pace bowling option to Virat Kohli, in case Pandya goes for runs.
Shankar is more than a handy batsman in the middle and had delivered decent performances in the series against Australia before the IPL at home. But Karthik’s experience might play against his chances in the World Cup, as Virat Kohli might opt for experience over Shankar’s all-round abilities.
If indeed Dhawan is out for 3 weeks, India have a tough decision ahead of them. Do they seek a replacement, in which case he is out of the tournament (unless back as a replacement for another player) or do they back Shanker and Karthik to bat at 4 till he is fit again.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 11, 2019
Rayudu misses out.
Although India would desperately want Dhawan back in action as soon as possible, it appears Kohli has got enough men to cover for his absence. There were some speculations that even Ambati Rayudu might get a call-up, but the selectors have decided to give a chance to Pant.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir had vouched for Rayudu’s inclusion, after Dhawan sustained the injury. “If Ambati Rayudu doesn’t make it as Shikar’s replacement, then his career is over.” Gambhir had told Starsports.
Rayudu averages over 47 in ODIs and it is disappointing that he hasn’t got enough chances to play for the national team. With age being not on his side, the road ahead is going to be tough for Rayudu.