India and West Indies are set to lock horns one last-time in 2019 in the series-deciding 3rd and final ODI in Cuttack on Sunday. With the series on the line, either team won’t be taking any chances with their respective playing XIs but former India opener Kris Srikkanth has suggested the hosts to drop batsman Kedar Jadhav and bolster their bowling with the addition of Yuzvendra Chahal.
With the top-order doing the bulk of scoring for India, Srikkanth feels the arrival of a pure batsman Jadhav at No. 6 leaves with him little room to make an impact as he will get to bat in the death-overs only unless there’s a batting collapse. “It is never easy to tinker with a winning combination, but Chahal in place of Kedar Jadhav will not be a bad idea,” Srikkanth wrote in his column for The Times of India. “Kedar at six is too much of a luxury, especially on days when he does not get enough overs to bat. Chahal and Kuldeep together could pose a lot of questions for the visitors.”
After suffering a heavy defeat in the first ODI in Chennai, India bounced back to level the three-match series in Vizag through a dominating batting performance led by opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul who stitched a 227-run partnership. Rohit scored 159 while Rahul 102 before the middle-order fireworks powered them to a mammoth 387/5.
Srikkanth, who was India’s top-scorer in the 1983 world cup final, hopes this opening combination will be persisted with in white-ball games. “The double-hundred partnership between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul was a treat to watch. I sincerely hope this pair is persisted with for all white-ball games. They compliment each other well and both play high-percentage cricket. This makes them a difficult duo to bowl to,” he wrote.
Coming back to the bowling, he expects the bowlers to have a difficult time and predicted that team that bats well will take the series. “The Indian bowling will be severely tested in Cuttack. The onus will be on the batsmen. Batting first or second should not make much of a difference. The team that bats better should take the series. At the same time it will be a good test for the Indian spinners,” he said.