Indian batsmen need to fire, writes Wasim Akram
Hosts will be under pressure as they failed in all the matches against Pakistan
Obviously, winning the last ODI against Pakistan has given India a morale-boost and they can carry that confidence into the one-day series against England which kicks off here today. However, losing the series will keep India under pressure.
The biggest gain for India from the Pakistan series has been MS Dhoni's form and the emergence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami. Both are very good bowlers and India should utilise them all the time instead of playing them in one game and then leaving them out for another. I maintain that India should play bowlers like Shami, who is a very good seam-bowling prospect with great control.
Obviously India’s batsmen will be under pressure. In the last series against Pakistan, it was the Indian batting that failed in all the matches. While India has discovered a couple of new bowlers, a very senior cricketer in Virender Sehwag has been left out. After so many disastrous performances in the last one year and a half particularly in the batting department, someone had to go. Unfortunately, it is Sehwag.
But this is not the end for him in ODIs. He should play first-class cricket to show his ability again. Cheteshwar Pujara is an impressive batsman. He deserves to be in the side for both Tests and ODIs. He has just scored two back-to-back double hundreds which really proves his class. Someone like Pujara should play ODIs all the time.
In 50 overs cricket batsmen with very good footwork can do well and Pujara has all the class and technique to do well. We shouldn't label a batsman as specialist for a particular format especially in the case Tests and ODIs. England will be missing players like Swann, Trott and Anderson which will make a huge difference to their fortunes. They will be under pressure since all three are among the best in their respective departments. India should take the advantage of this. England have not won an ODI in India for a while now, but the past doesn’t matter now.