We Cannot Keep Relying On Top-Order Batters To Win Us Games In ODI Cricket: Saba Karim 1
saba karim

Saba Karim selected his Playing XI for the series opener against West Indies and picked Ishan Kishan as the second opener with Rohit Sharma.

Saba Karim further named Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as the two spinners and Deepak Hooda as the all-rounder. Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Deepak Chahar were his choices as pacers.

India does have the home advantage but the West Indies camp is likely to put up a fighting display after its 3-2 T20 triumph against England. With Rohit Sharma at the helm of things, India is all set to begin their home white-ball series against the West Indies with the first ODI on Sunday -6th February in Ahmedabad.

File photo of former wicketkeeper Saba Karim. – The Hindu
File photo of former wicketkeeper Saba Karim. – The Hindu

Saba Karim: Venkatesh Iyer Shouldn’t Have Been Dropped So Soon

As Rohit Sharma starts his journey as a full-time limited-overs leader in India’s 1000th ODI game, the home side is looking forward to getting back to winning ways after being whitewashed in the ODI series 3-0 against South Africa.

India also have been hit by Covid-19 with four players including batsmen Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad being isolated after testing positive. Apart from the selection conundrum, India also need to address the need for an additional bowling option.

Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)

Mayank Agarwal’s addition to the squad makes it clear that the management isn’t looking to promote Venkatesh Iyer at the top, and former BCCI selector Saba Karim believes the all-rounder needs to get more chances. The 27-year-old Venkatesh Iyer bowled just five overs against South Africa.

“I think Venkatesh Iyer should not have been dropped so soon. I had liked his approach in South Africa. He also bowled decently, should have given him more opportunities.

“My playing XI would be: Rohit, Kishan, Kohli, Pant, Yadav, Hooda, Thakur, Chahar, Siraj, Kuldeep and Chahal. Don’t see Sundar featuring because there are not many left-handers in the team,” said Saba Karim on the Khelneeti podcast.

Ishan Kishan has so far played just two ODIs for Team India thus far, both against Sri Lanka. He smashed 60 runs at a strike rate of 130.43 with a top score of 59. In 7 games for the senior national team(5 T20Is, 2 ODIs), Ishan Kishan has got 173 runs with a strike rate touching 130 in both formats.

Venkatesh Iyer made his ODI debut against South Africa last month, he scored 2 & 22 in the first two games. He wasn’t given any over in the first match but did roll his arm in the second game. Venkatesh Iyer didn’t find any wickets and was dropped from the Indian team in the 3rd ODI-Cape Town match and subsequently missed his selection in the ODI squad for the limited-overs series against the Windies at home.

Saba Karim: One Can’t Keep Relying On Top Order Batsmen To Win In ODIs As It’s Time The Middle Order Also Contributes

The former India wicketkeeper also weighed in on India’s volatile middle-order, saying that the team cannot rely always on the top-order batters to play a winning role. Despite a clutter in the team composition, head coach Rahul Dravid had reflected on India’s ODI drubbing versus South Africa and described building the core for next two World Cups(T20I-2022 and ODI-2023) as an “evolving” process.

“Winning is important, you step into the ground to win. We cannot keep relying on top-order batters to win us games in ODI cricket; it is time that the middle order also contributes to wins. It is important to unearth these kind of players and give them chances.

“Rahul and Rohit’s primary aim would be to win matches, but at the same time make progress towards the World Cup. India have already qualified for the World Cup, so the ranking does not matter,” Saba Karim further said.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

Ahmedabad is naturally a spin wrecker and could feature even three spinners subject to TOSS with Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi and Washington Sundar in the mix. Dew is expected to play a part in the Day/Night ODIs between India & WI. The captains are likely to opt to bat after winning the toss.

India Probable XI:- Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, Shardul Thakur , Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav