It's been over seven weeks since India and England first started playing cricket. This Sunday, we see the finale of the world tour, and the series is tied, so both teams have everything left to play for. It is the depth of India's batting order that has got everybody talking, and if they get it right, this could lead to wins and see them take the series overall. In the past, they have been accused of being slightly cautious and sometimes aggressive with their batting, and now they are trying a more dynamic way of working. Their batting depth has been under question, with even their team captain Virat Kohli admitting that it was a failure. This has seen him working hard on the team grouping to play England and also bringing in some new players that he has deemed to be X-factor level.
The Captain Speaks
When the tournament began the captain spoke of his hopes for the team. He said that they had deliberately added to the squad to ensure that the batting line-up had a lot more depth. He was confident it would mean they didn't repeat bad patterns that they had previously displayed. He said India wanted to be a cricket team that played freely without baggage. And if he had a lack of depth and only one reliable batsman this was not the way to go. There is more confidence in the team now in his words there were explosive batsmen who could radically turn the game around at any stage. There is now No Fear that even from 3 wicket's down the game has been lost. He said “That’s exactly what we've tried to address in picking this squad. So, this time around, you will see guys a bit more expressive in terms of approaching the innings and playing more freely.” By making these changes the fear could be alleviated that the batsmen were not able to take over and turn things around if things started to go wrong. He also admitted that previously there was not enough depth in batting to be able to offer this level of freedom, but he is confident they are entering a much more positive future.
There are some big names available to the team, not just the captain himself but also Mahendra Singh Dhoni. They are both very capable batsmen who can create some fantastic play and match-winning innings. They have generated a vast following in their home country, but it hasn't always been plain sailing to the pair. When India took on Bangladesh, they didn't get the performance they hoped for, with neither of the two star-players reaching double figures. The total for the two was just nine runs. The team, however, went on to win the match with a total of 302. So, who were the explosive players at that match? Well, it was Rohit Sharma who had 137 runs and Suresh Raina with 65 runs that made a considerable indent into the progress of the team. Clearly, it would make a lot of sense to utilise them well in the final innings at the weekend. All six of the top batsmen are capable of stellar performances and have helped their team to a win when needed. Kohli racked up an impressive 107 when they came up against Pakistan in the opening game. Raina hit 110 not out from 104 balls when they took on Zimbabwe and was in particularly impressive form. When Dhoni had an unbeaten 85 in the same game, it was enough to ensure his team's victory.
A Capable Squad
Dhawan had 100 when the team came up against Ireland, and Sharma has been a regular contributor in all of the fixtures. The only player who has been more inconsistent is Ajinkya Rahane. He struggled somewhat with a 69 when the team met South Africa. It certainly demonstrates that India has a very capable batting squad no matter who they come up against. In batting positions seven and eight, they also have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who are both very good batters in their own right. So, there is quite a pool of talent to draw from, meaning that they should be able to pitch a spectacular batting line-up each and every time they take to the field. Some people feel that one outstanding batsman is the way to go, but they don't have that. They have a more even spread of very good batsmen.
Possible Batting Line Up
So, what does the line-up potentially look like for both India and England this weekend? We know that England has rested Mark Wood, and this means he might be back for this match instead of Tom Curran or Reece Topley. Given that Curran conceded 83 runs last time, it is most likely he will be the one to be replaced in this case. Sam Billings is also under question as he has an injured collar bone and not yet certified match fit. India has no players out to injury, so that the potential line ups could look like this.
India:1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya/Washington Sundar, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Prasidh Krishna/T Natarajan
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Ben Stokes, 4 Dawid Malan, 5 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Mark Wood/Tom Curran, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Reece Topley
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