Dhawan needs to sign off on a high; Shami may be rested to give Saini a look-in
Opener Shikhar Dhawan will be desperate for a big knock after four consecutive failures as India eyes another series victory when it takes on the West Indies in the third and final One-Day International here on Wednesday.
With scores of one, 23 and three in the T20 series and just two in the second ODI, Dhawan’s comeback post injury has been far from ideal. Troubled by in-coming deliveries, twice Dhawan lost his wicket to pacer Sheldon Cottrell.
Since he is not part of the Test squad, the Delhi left-hander would like to finish the Caribbean assignment on a high.
There is another mini-battle brewing in the Indian line-up, for the No. 4 slot, with Shreyas Iyer putting tremendous pressure on Rishabh Pant.
Pant has enjoyed the backing of the team management, especially skipper Virat Kohli, but his repeated failures and Shreyas’ 68-ball 71 in the second ODI changed things.
Pant’s temperament is a cause of concern as he has been seen as having thrown away his wicket several times. By his knock on Sunday, Shreyas has made a strong case for himself for the crucial slot, where a steady head is required.
Even the legendary Sunil Gavaskar has vouched for Shreyas at No. 4 and wants Pant to drop to five, as he feels the wicketkeeper-batsman is best suited to provide the late impetus.
Elsewhere on the batting front, Kohli will look to carry the momentum after a brilliant 120 off 125 balls in the second ODI.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the star for India with the ball in the last match with impressive figures of four for 31 from eight overs and the pacer will look to sustain the form.
Bhuvneshwar’s pace colleague Mohammed Shami (two for 39) and Kuldeep Yadav (two for 59) also chipped in, but the chinaman went for some runs and he will be hoping for a better display in terms of economy.
Although teams don’t prefer changing winning combinations, Kohli may give Navdeep Saini a run, giving Shami a rest.
Wanted, a win
The West Indies, on the other hand, will be desperate to save the series with a win.
But for that to happen, the batting unit will have to take more responsibility. It’s time talents like Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran rise to the occasion.
After the final ODI, the two teams will battle out a two-match Test series, starting August 22 at North Sound, Antigua.
The teams (from):
India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini.
West Indies: Jason Holder (Capt.), Chris Gayle, John Campbell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Keemo Paul, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Kemar Roach.
Match starts at 7 p.m. IST.
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