Calcutta/Kochi: Sometimes it has been the batting failure, sometimes the wayward bowlers … Team India’s transition phase, as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni likes to term it, has been a harrowing one.
Series defeats, that too at home, have pained the cricket enthusiasts. Dhoni, himself, too must be worried. More so, because he himself hasn’t done too badly and yet the team have faced defeat on more occasions than they have won.
If every day is a new day, so should be Tuesday, when the Dhoni brigade take on England in the second one-dayer of the five-match series.
Having won the opener in Rajkot, England are not only 1-0 up, they are also on a higher pedestal as far as confidence is concerned.
India have to regroup themselves as a team and face the challenge. Not that they can’t. The memories of their fantastic victory against Pakistan, at the Kotla, should be fresh in their memories. A positive attitude is the primary need of the hour.
There were some basic errors, or so it seemed, on the Indians’ part in Rajkot. From not including the impressive Shami Ahmed in the playing XI to not using Yuvraj Singh, the bowler, on a track where the seamers were being thrashed. On Tuesday, one hopes no such goof-ups will take place.
If the Kochi pitch turns out to be like the one in Rajkot, the Indian bowlers will have to work overtime to check the in-form England batsmen.
Bowling at death is also a major concern for Dhoni. In the first one-dayer, England had leapfrogged from 287 to 325 in just 12 balls. Those runs turned out to be crucial as India’s brave chase fell short by just nine runs. The Kochi pitch is reportedly batsman-friendly and so the Indians will have to be alert.
India’s most experienced bowler, Ishant Sharma, had a horrible outing in Rajkot. He bled more than 80 runs in his 10 overs. With Ashok Dinda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in better form than Ishant, one hopes that Bengal pacer Shami would be preferred over the Delhi bowler.
Indian batsmen will also have to prove themselves, with much of the omus being on openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane. Virat Kolhi, at No.3, will also be eager to end his off-form and return among runs.
For the record, India have won four of their six matches in Kochi. England have played only one ODI in Kochi, losing by four wickets to India in 2006.
India (from): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed
England (from): Alastair Cook (captain), Joe Root, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Joseph Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Stuart Meakar, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Petersen, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.
Match starts: 12 noon