Team India will be commencing its limited-overs leg of their Sri Lankan tour when they take on the hosts in the first of the 5-match ODI series at Dambulla on Sunday.
After achieving a whitewash in the Test format, India, as expected, start as the favourites to win. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will walk in under immense pressure to regain respect which is on a decline following spineless shows in recent contests.
Speaking of pros and cons, India doesn’t have a weakness, but there are a couple of selection conundrums which Virat Kohli has to deal with while choosing the XI for the upcoming contest. The biggest of all would be to decide between KL Rahul and MS Dhoni for the no.4 position. But, who? This is the question.
Kl Rahul is the man who could potentially play at this position in the 2019 Cricket World in England. The marquee event is by far the biggest talking point in recent times and could probably provoke captain Kohli and coach Shastri to think beyond. The challengers are not the same world class unit they were a few months ago. They are crippled with injuries, and the team is laced with inexperience.
Given these circumstances, proper knocks batting at this slot will most likely help Rahul learn and gain the mindset of a specialist no. 4 batsmen. His versatility has been his greatest strength but looking into the future, Indian would certainly want its talents to have proper clarity of their roles and designation in the XI.
No Longer a Direct Selection
MSK Prasad, the chief of the selection clan, has been a man who sticks to his words which are often straightforward and blunt. A few months ago when he said that the Indian side would see a huge influx of young blood into it, it was executed without any delay.
He wished for a seam bowling all-rounder – in came Hardik Pandya. He wished for a backup for the spinning duo of Ashwin and Jadeja – Kuldeep Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Axar Patel are now in the fray. There a few other examples.
He clearly has a vision for Team India and is doing everything in favour of that idea.
Similarly, in a recent interview, he also went onto reveal that MS Dhoni is no longer a direct selection in the team after Yuvi faced the axe. It was expected, especially after all the debate surrounding Yuvraj and MS’s place in the team.
Dhoni still has fuel in him. Fitness and commitment have never been a question, but the problem is his age. His value as the mentor to Kohli and the team is great. But, at 36, he doesn’t fit in the long term scheme. Kohli will perhaps think of using him according to the situation, and it doesn’t appear that Dhoni will get a chance to bat at no. 4 regularly in this series.