Brisbane ODI: Could Ravindra Jadeja pay the price again?

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja likely to make way for fit pacer Ishant Sharma at the Gabba today

Brisbane: The last time India played Australia at the Gabba in 2012, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was not even given a bowl.

At the time, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stated, “due to couple of well-set left handed batsmen and the short boundaries straight, we preferred to opt for part-time bowlers instead.”

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja

Four years later, Jadeja’s bowling has evolved but the conditions in Brisbane remains the same. Given the ease at which the Australian batsmen played Jadeja and his fellow spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin (at Perth), there is a strong chance one of them will make way for pacer Ishant Sharma.

Pitch to help pacers
Rohit Sharma admitted yesterday that there were discussions about team changes: “Yes, there are discussions going on, but we all have to wait and see what the captain thinks. Definitely, this pitch will be like Perth with the extra bounce so it will help the fast bowlers more than the spinners.”

India pacer Ishant Sharma bowls during a practice session in Brisbane yesterday. PIC/AFP
India pacer Ishant Sharma bowls during a practice session in Brisbane yesterday. PIC/AFP

With the pitch likely to mirror Perth with even more bounce, India could chance their arm and pick four pacers plus Ashwin. Ishant was declared fit for selection and bowled with good pace and zip in the nets. He also seemed to practice his death bowling with Dhoni, who tried his best to whack the lanky paceman.

The return of Ishant should leave Dhoni with plenty of pace bowling options through the middle overs.

According to Rohit, it was the lack of wickets in the middle overs that tilted the game Australia’s way in the first ODI. “We need to learn how to take wickets in the middle. How to build the pressure in the middle overs… that is something we need to be aware of. If wickets fall in the middle then it affects the momentum of the opposition.”

If Jadeja is dropped, it leaves India with Ashwin to bat at No 7 and exposes the tail. But given Dhoni’s pragmatic approach, he will know having Ashwin, Barinder Sran and Ishant in the outfield is also a risk on the large playing surface of Brisbane. Also, the fact that the Australian middle order is predominantly right-handed, Dhoni will prefer to have Jadeja because he spins the ball away from the right-handers.

Down 0-1 in the series, Dhoni has to make a tough choice when it comes to the team composition. The make-up of the final XI could dictate the outcome of the match.

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