IND vs AUS 2nd ODI: Time for Virat Kohli and Co to rule Rajkot
India eye maiden ODI win at SCA Stadium to stay alive in three-match series; middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer insists team will put Mumbai loss behind
Rajkot: For the third time in last five limited overs series, Team India are facing a must-win situation to maintain a winning streak on home soil.
Virat Kohli's men had lost the opening encounters against West Indies [in a three-ODI series in December] and Bangladesh [in a T20I series in November], but on both occasions the Men in Blue bounced back to clinch the series.
While bouncing back against the West Indies and Bangladesh may have been a comparatively easier, it may not be as simple against the mighty Australians. Worse still, after the 10-wicket annihilation in the series opener at Wankhede on Tuesday, India come to a venue—the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium—where they are yet to open their win account, having lost both their previous ODIs played here.
Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer insisted that Team India will fight back to level the series. "We have seen that in the past as well, where we were 0-1 down against the West Indies. It's not as if we have lost the series. We can still come back strongly and that's what we discussed in the dressing room. We need to back and believe in ourselves and also in our teammates that in a pressure situation somebody will stand up and see to it that they take the team through," Iyer said at the pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Tuesday's whacking was only the second time ever that India lost by 10 wickets on home soil. And it was mainly due to a complete collapse in the middle order. "Well, it happens that [sometimes] you are not prepared. The country was not prepared to see us collapsing in such a situation but it is part and parcel of the game. You have to take it in your stride and move forward," said Iyer.
Going by the practice session on match eve, there could be quite a few changes and rejigs in the batting order. The green top at the SCA Stadium might prompt the Indian team management to bring in fiery pacer Navdeep Saini. Whether he replaces Shardul Thakur or Mohammed Shami remains to be seen. Thakur's handy contribution with the bat could work in the Mumbai pacer's favour.
'Ready to bat at any position'
The other important decision to be taken is whether or not to move skipper Kohli back to his No. 3 position. While it seems to be a logical call with the series on the line, it is understood that the team management will adopt a flexible approach depending upon the situation Iyer, who is touted to be the No. 4 batsman but was dropped one place in the last match, said he's prepared to bat at any position. "Currently, in this situation, you should be ready to bat at any number because it is really important to play in the team [considering] the competition we have now. We can't give any reasons for batting at any particular number. It is very important for us to be focused rather than cry about why we haven't been batting at a similar position. Experimentation is something we are looking forward to. Hopefully, we will get a good number for each batsman," he said.
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