|Mahendra Singh Dhoni speaks at a youth leadership development programme, in
Ranchi, on Sunday. (PTI)
Calcutta: Ishant Sharma retained his place for the remaining four ODIs against Australia as the national selectors named an unchanged squad for the ongoing series. India are 1-2 down in the series.
Ishant finished with figures of one for 63 from eight overs in the third ODI in Mohali on Saturday after conceding 30 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 Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that the death bowling had become a “headache”.
The decision to retain Ishant has come as a shock after his performance in Mohali. Australia needed 44 off 18 balls when Ishant came in to bowl the 48th over. Six balls and 30 runs later off James Faulkner’s bat, the game was effectively over.
However, the Team India captain had hinted at the post-match press conference that Ishant would be retained.
“One tries to take the right decisions, but it doesn’t work sometimes... Ishant had started well, but everybody is looking at that one over...
“If bowlers have to be dropped after a couple of bad performances, then even some batsmen would have to go...
“You can’t end up changing the entire team... You need to persist with the players, give them a long rope. If somebody is struggling, then the team’s there to back him,” Dhoni maintained.
Apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has kept his economy rate under six in all three matches so far, the two other pacers — Ishant and Ranganath Vinay Kumar — have been unimpressive as India conceded more than 300 in all three ODIs.
The other pace options in the squad are Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat.
All the batsmen, except for Yuvraj Singh, have been among runs and thus retained their places.
Comeback man Yuvraj scored 7 and 0 in the two innings he has played so far, besides the 77 not out in the one-off Twenty20 International. The selectors retained him considering his experience and ability to single-handedly win matches on his day.
The remaining matches of the series will be held in Ranchi (October 23), Cuttack (October 26), Nagpur (October 30) and Bangalore (November 2).