Pujara, Rahane likely for fourth Zimbabwe ODI
The team management is likely heed calls to try out the bench strength when India takes on Zimbabwe in the fourth One-Day International of the five-match series in Bulawayo on Thursday.
Having already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead, after a convincing seven-wicket victory in the third ODI, it won’t be surprising if some of those who haven’t featured in the series are fielded in what is a match of only academic interest.
With conditions at the Queens Sports Club expected to be batsman-friendly, Cheteshwar Pujara, Parveez Rasool, Mohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane are likely to play, with the latter opening in place of Rohit Sharma, who has scored only 35 runs in the three matches so far, and Pujara being included in the middle order.
Image: Ajinkya Rahane
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Rasool to make ODI debut
Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Rasool could come in place of Ravindra Jadeja or Amit Mishra, India’s most successful bowler in the series with nine wickets.
However, it could be difficult for pacer Mohit to find a place in the eleven for Thursday’s match as young seamers Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Shami have done quite well.
Skipper Virat Kohli, though, could hand Mohit his ODI debut by resting R Vinay Kumar, who was disappointing thus far in the series.
Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan are India’s main run-getters in the series, while Ambati Rayudu did well to score 101 runs in the three ODIs, and it is likely they will be retained to maintain the solidity in the side.
Image: Parveez Rasool
Brendan Taylor needs to step up
For Zimbabwe, the three loses in as many matches at home is difficult to stomach but skipper Brendan Taylor is motivating his boys to play out of their skin in the remaining matches and restore pride. Taylor is of the opinion that his players lack ‘mental toughness’.
Batting is their main problem. In all the matches played thus far, the hosts’ middle order batsmen were unable to put up substantial partnerships.
Sikandar Raza, E Chigumbura and V Sibanda have been among the runs for Zimbabwe but they need to do more to make an impression against the World champions as do Brian Vitori and Prosper Utseya in the bowling department.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra.
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (C), Sikandar Raza, Tendai Chatara, Michael Chinouya, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Natsai M'shangwe, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.
The match commences at 1230 IST.
Image: Brendan Taylor
Photographs: Graham Crouch/Getty Images