Recently, India faced a threat when playing against Hong Kong. For the Indian team, this wake-up call was important. Their batting was below par and their bowling needed improvements. India played second string and gave a chance to fringe players against Hong Kong, which was considered a weak side.
Hong Kong came dangerously close to upset India in fourth match of Asia Cup. Their strong spirit is really commendable. First of all, their bowlers stopped India at 240 for 2 in over 41 from a comfortable position to only 285 for 7 in final over. In the last 10 overs, India scored only 48 runs by losing 5 wickets. The openers in Hong Kong scored 174 runs before middle over. Result could have been different and Hong Kong had some middle-order experience.
The current match against arch-rivals Pakistan is going to be a lot difficult and India would want to bring out their game in Group A against Pakistan. India needs to get back to their power-packed side, which would bring regular members back who rested when playing against Hong Kong. Here are some of the changes expected for India against Pakistan.
Hardik Pandya should replace Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur is strolling on thin ice when it comes to his position in Indian team. His performance was poor even when playing against a weak side like Hong Kong. He has not got the most of opportunities available to him so far and Hardik Pandya would be the right choice for the game. Despite the recent Test form of Pandya, he is a true all-rounder in limited overs and he has made the most of opportunities available in ODIs so far.
Jasprit Bumrah should replace Khaleel Ahmed
Even though Khaleel Ahmed has put superb performance against their recent rivals Hon Kong and helped India to come out of jail with haul of three wickets, he is supposed to make way for veteran Jasprit Bumrah. It the matches of high pressures skill and experience count a lot and Bumrah has enough of them. He has been great in death overs and his action truly makes things harder for players who haven’t faced him before.
Both Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu are not in the ODI side of India. Virat Kohli’s absence has provided both with a chance to get a position in India for the game to be played against Hong Kong. Half-century of Rayudu puts him ahead slightly of Karthik in race for the position of middle order in the game against Pakistan.
KL Rahul is the first choice for India at No. 3 in Kohli’s absence and he is supposed to make comeback to team India for Pakistan. Rahul will also face pressure to perform as players like Manish Pandey and Karthik who may breathe down his neck in middle order for a slot.