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Indians aim to sort out berths

Combinations, more options for the No.4 position and creating a reserve bench as strong as the full-strength team are certainly on their minds
Representational image.

A Staff Reporter   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.07.21, 02:55 AM

Over the last few years, India have dominated Sri Lanka across all formats of the game. For the Sri Lankans, there has been no respite even at home, with India hammering them in all nine matches (three Tests, five ODIs and a T20I) during their last tour of the island nation in 2017.

The slide in Sri Lankan cricket had since begun to unfold. Looking at their current off-the-field turmoil that has been heightened by the contracts issue, it appears even this India side, without some of its heavyweights (who are in England for the five Tests), would be too strong for the Dasun Shanaka-led team in this limited-overs series, which begins with the first ODI at the Premadasa in Colombo on Sunday.

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The visitors, led by Shikhar Dhawan, though would be bothered little with what’s happening in the opposition camp. Even though they are a “second-string side” for some, they should win both the ODI and T20I legs of this tour if they play to their potential.

However, there are things to sort and settle for India besides just winning matches.

Combinations, more options for the No.4 position and creating a reserve bench as strong as the full-strength team are certainly on their minds. What augurs well for them is the presence of coach Rahul Dravid, whose inputs won’t just matter for this tour, but may assume greater significance for the youngsters moving forward.

When it comes to combinations, India need to make up their mind on the quicks and the slow bowlers , especially with not too many days left for the T20 World Cup.

It’s expected India would include two spinners in their XI for the ODIs and T20Is, but should it be the seasoned duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav? Or should Rahul Chahar be given more chances?

“Of course, Kuldeep and Chahal share a great chemistry and have won us many matches. Even Chahar is a good spinner. So we have got a group of spinners bowling really well and I believe you’ll see them taking lots of wickets,” Dhawan said on Saturday.

The thinktank is undecided as to who should partner vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the new ball. Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini are both capable, though the former is more consistent.

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