A series defeat is analogous to rubbing salt on the wound to the struggling Indian Cricket Team. The team will, however, attempt to salvage what remains of their pride as both the arch rivals head to the capital for the third and final ODI. The final match of the series might prove fatal to certain players whose performance has been consistently and severely lacking.
The collective failure of the top order batsmen along with the limited and inexperienced bowling resources has plummeted the level of Indian Cricket to a new low in light of the recent debacles. It would seem that nothing short of a miracle can even mildly guarantee a win in the final match of the much awaited India – Pakistan series.
With the series beyond India’s reach, certain players on the bench might be given a chance to disrupt the series of misfortunes that has constantly plagued the boys in blue. Else, the Ferozeshah Kotla will bear witness to another massacre.
Skipper Dhoni, who seems to be the only efficient person with a bat in the series, has been at a complete loss of words to explain the slump in performance and suggestions have been made to move him up the order to contribute in a more efficient manner.
In spite of his impressive performance in both the T20s leading to the ODIs, Ajinkya Rahane has not appeared in a single ODI so far. Considering the disappointing performance by the experience openers, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, Ajinkya Rahane might replace one of them to open the game at Delhi. One cannot rule out the possibility of both Gambhir and Sehwag being retained for the match as it is their home town after all. The fact that this can be conceived as a possibility with high chances of becoming a reality depicts the pathetic state of affairs of India Cricket.
Virat Kohli’s and Yuvraj Singh’s respective forms have been choppy as well. They never got off to a good start and contributed very little. Suresh Raina provided sufficient support to Dhoni in Chennai but failed to impress in Kolkata.
Since the departure of greats such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, the present seniors have not taken it upon themselves to shoulder the massive responsibility of providing direction to the team and grooming the juniors.
The bowling has not been up to the mark but far more impressive than the batting. Newbie Bhuvanesh Kumar along with Ravindra Jadeja crumble the middle order in Kolkata. Spinner Amit Mishra and Pacer Shami Ahmed may also be given a chance to prove their mettle.
Pakistan is on a new high owing to the brutally excellent performance by the team away from home. Back to back centuries, four wicket streaks and the possibility of a whitewash of arch rivals at their home. The closest simulation of heaven for the Pakistani cricket team. The outstanding 141 run opening partnership by openers Nasir Jamshed and Mohammed Hafeez might have cemented their places as openers for the foreseeable future. Further down the order, Younis Khan, skipper Misbah Ul Haq, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal have proven to be solid support to wind up the batting sqaud.
Twenty three year old Junaid Khan has been performing at his best as he is solely responsible for picking apart the entire top batting order of the Indian team. He has been nothing less than a star. The Pakistani bowling is further complimented by Umar Gul and Mohammad Irfan. A change in the bowling order is not particularly envisaged apart from Wahab Riaz replacing Mohammad Irfan.
India: Virender Sehwag / Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, M S Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin / Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda / Shami Ahmed, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
Pakistan: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan
Pitch: The pitch at Delhi has been known to favour bowlers and can be an absolute nightmare for batsmen. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Junaid Khan will be looking to secure career-best figures.
Prediction: The awesome form of the entire Pakistani team with the pitiful state of the Indian team, a whitewash is well in sight for the visitors.
Time: The match is scheduled to start at noon on the 6th of January to avoid the dew.