What does an eye-opener look like? Much like the 1st ODI between India & Australia at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. India lost a match by 10 wickets after the year 2005 when South Africa defeated us in Kolkata. The opening duo of Warner-Finch did the unthinkable as they gunned down the target of 255 by an unbreakable stand of 258 in just 38 overs. Virat & Co. were left clueless.
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Here were the major eye-opening scenarios in the India v/s Australia 1st ODI:
1. Virat at No. 4
What in the world was our Skip thinking? Yes, he is allowed to experiment at times but was this the right occasion? Many questions went unanswered when the Captain had to accommodate Rohit, Dhawan & KL in the same squad. While KL came in at number 3, Kohli demoted himself at number 4 where he was dismissed for the 4th time by Adam Zampa who has made the Indian Captain his bunny. This unselfish attitude from Kohli has been coming through after he said in his pre match conference, “We are looking for more match winners who can step up when needed in crunch situations so many changes in the batting order might be coming up.” Did this just prove to be too heavy on the team?
2. The Dependency on Top Order
After the number 4 debate, the evergreen debate of the fact that whenever the top order fails Indian batting order struggles big time, comes through as a huge setback for the team. Rohit failed, KL & Dhawan put on a 122 run partnership but it lacked the support from Kohli at number 4 which was a very rare failure. Shreyas, Pant, Jadeja, none were able to answer the questions being asked by the Australian pace battery in Starc & Cummins.
3. ‘Pant’ing enough?
Rishabh Pant got unfortunately injured during the 1st ODI while hitting one to fine leg after his thumb got in the way of the ball. He is currently being treated and the BCCI has given a statement that he won’t be joining the squad for the 2nd The wicket-keeping gloves were taken up by KL Rahul who might also be taking up the same role in the 2nd ODI. The question remains if Pant hasn’t been firing like he should, why is he still in the squad and the fact if KL is in the team and performing why can’t a guy like Manish Pandey get a chance in the 11, forget the option of Sanju Samson!
4. Exposed to Challenges
India have been playing a world-class side after almost an year post the World Cup because teams like South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka are presently sides that are currently finding their foot back into the cricketing world. A challenge came up in the form of this series and the Indian side has been exposed big-time be it the batsmen or the bowlers. Evert body has got to come together as a unit and reflect on the same. Also, the schedule prepared by the BCCI has to be questioned because competitive cricket has to be given more value rather than a T20 tournament against teams like Sri Lanka & Bangladesh.
5. The Pace Battery Question
The best bowler of the year Jasprit Bumrah went wicket-less and hasn’t yet found his groove as yet post his injury return. Shami, Shardul went for plenty and didn’t seem to trouble the Aussie batsmen who were picking up gaps like the back of their hand, something which India was struggling throughout their innings. Kuldeep & Jadeja might have been economical comparatively but they also went wicket-less which gives India the option to use Chahal who has had a good record against Australia.
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