Canberra: The series has been lost, but the message from Team Director Ravi Shastri is clear — be positive and win the remaining games. Shastri's role is to be the motivator but India has not lacked motivation, they have lacked execution and planning.
Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to be recalled on a spin-friendly Canberra pitch
The selection of Rishi Dhawan and Gurkeerat Singh Mann was mysterious, so don't be surprised if there are other changes in the two dead rubbers.
Barinder Sran clearly looks exhausted and Shikhar Dhawan's place is guaranteed, as there is no other opener. Ajinkya Rahane could be shifted to open but the team management is intent on Rahane excelling and evolving in the No 4 slot.
Given that India decided to make two key changes in the knockout match at Melbourne, picking a final XI is a lottery rather than logic.
Bowling is definitely suffering but as Shastri pointed out, another couple of fast bowlers should have been selected. "When it comes to bowling, what I would suggest in the future to the BCCI is have some extra players. Instead of 15 on a tour like this, probably 16 would be advisable.
'Need back-up bowlers'
"Somewhere close to the subcontinent like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, anywhere, middle-east, 15 is fine. At least seven-eight bowlers have to be there all the time and there also will be specialists for T20, for ODIs and for Tests," said Shastri.
If that is the case, then one wonders why India picked three spinners in the squad. Shastri, however, stated it was due to the fact that India believed spin is a threat. It will in Canberra and Sydney. The pitch at Manuka Oval lacks zip and bounces and has the tendency of slowing up.
While the scores can remain high, the nature of pitch will demand a recall for R Ashwin in the playing XI.
With the batsmen batting deep into innings, there is perhaps an option of playing Ashwin, Rishi Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja, so it gives Dhoni an additional bowling option.
There has been no better team in world cricket than Australia when it comes to being ruthless and with David Warner back in the team, Australia will try and demoralise India from the start. On a pitch that is a belter at the start, India will need more than belief in order to be competitive.
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