India vs West Indies, 3rd ODI Preview: Rohit's men have one eye on clean sweep and another on testing bench strength
Having recovered from COVID-19, Shikhar Dhawan is likely to return to the playing XI in the final ODI. Kuldeep Yadav and Avesh Khan are also expected to get the nod.
Pant experiment one-off
With India having already sealed the ODI series with one match to go, there is the probability of some players getting chances in both teams.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma said at the post match presentation after the second ODI that Shikhar Dhawan has recovered from COVID-19 and is likely to return to the playing XI for the final ODI.
This was an extension on the question that whether or not the decision to open with Rishabh Pant in the second ODI was a long-term move or just a one-off experiment. It appears that the Indian team management wants KL Rahul to settle in the middle order in ODI cricket and does not want to fiddle with his position.
In order to give the classical batsman more game time in the middle order to better understand his role, they decided to go in with the makeshift option of Rishabh Pant at the top of the order in the second ODI. As Dhawan returns, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are likely to take the number 3, 4 and 5 spots.
Chances for Kuldeep, Avesh?
For the number 6 role, India have three options in Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan. Shahrukh will probably have to wait till the T20s which is his strongest format.
Deepak Chahar is likely to replace Shardul Thakur in the playing XI, with Avesh Khan also likely to make his debut in place of Mohammed Siraj.
Kuldeep Yadav has been warming the benches in the first two ODIs and after Rohit Sharma said before the beginning of the series that the left arm wrist spinner is in India's plans moving ahead, he should also get an opportunity to return to international cricket after his knee surgery.
Pollard in for Bravo
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard wasn't part of the playing XI in the second ODI due to a niggle but should return for the final match of the series. He will have to replace Darren Bravo, with Odean Smith having done a fine job with both bat and ball in the only opportunity that he has got.
The team should also bring in Hayden Walsh in place of Fabian Allen to provide a different dimension to their bowling line up.
Dhawan, Rohit to reunite
India are yet to play to their capacity in the series. Especially, their batting needs to put up big runs on the board.
With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan reuniting at the top of the order and Virat Kohli at number 3, the team will give itself the best opportunity to touch 300. Their bowling though has been quite impressive with Prasidh Krishna and Yuzvendra Chahal standing out.
West Indies have been off the boil but even at 50% performance, they have given India some competition one way or the other. One can only imagine the kind of firecrackers going off if they play to their potential.
Predicted playing XIs
India - Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav/Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Avesh Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna
West Indies - Shai Hope (wk), Brandon King, Shamarh Brooks, Kieron Pollard/Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran (c), Jason Holder, Odean Smith, Akeal Hosein, Hayden Walsh, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach
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