Fast bowler Ishant Sharma retained his place for the remaining four ODIs as the BCCI tweeted an unchanged squad for the ongoing series against Australia after India lost two of the first three matches.
Out-of-form pacer Ishant Sharma survived the axe despite being hammered for 30 runs in one over that changed the course of the third ODI between India and Australia at Mohali on Saturday. The Indian selectors have shown faith in the 15-man squad trailing tourists 2-1 in the seven-match series, despite growing calls for changes in the bowling department. Ishant Sharma finished with figures of 1 for 63 from eight overs in the third ODI after conceding 30 runs in an over which turned the match in Australia’s favour. In the first two ODIs too, his economy rate was eight and 7.77 runs per over respectively. India’s pace attack, particularly in the death overs, has been a cause of concern for a while now and captain MS Dhoni admitted after the third ODI that the death bowling had become a problem.
Apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has kept his economy rate under six in all three matches so far, the two other pacers India have bowled with – Ishant and Vinay Kumar – have been unimpressive as India conceded more than 300 in all three ODIs
Retaining the pace attack means that there is still no room for Zaheer Khan, who was impressive in the India A’s ‘unofficial’ Test matches against West Indies earlier this month. He played a vital role in India A’s victory in the second test helping the home team clinch victory and level the two-match series 1-1.
However, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a different point of view on his team. On Sunday, the Indian skipper came out strongly in the support of his non-performing bowlers, saying that frequent changes might hamper the team in the long run.”It will be unfair that all of a sudden when you lose one or two matches and you want playing eleven bowler to be removed and thrown out of the team by saying he is not good,” he said.
The other pace options in the squad are Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat, who have not been given a chance in the series yet. Unadkat and Shami were among the top three wicket-takers in the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in August as they finished with eight and six wickets. Amit Mishra, who hasn’t played in the ongoing series yet, who took 18 wickets can be the better option in place of off spinner R Ashwin who hasn’t performed well in this series.
Squad : MS Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat.