Indian team management has decided to give wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni rest from the remaining two One-Day-International (ODI) matches of the series against Australia. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar confirmed the news following India’s 32 runs defeat to the Aussies in the third ODI in Ranchi on Friday.
In Dhoni’s absence, young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is set to grab the position as he is the only other wicketkeeper in the squad. It is understood that Indian think-tank took this decision to give opportunities to the young pros with the 2019 World Cup is just around the corner. India will look to fine-tune their squad before the World Cup.
India will also closely monitor pacer Mohammed Shami, who sustained a minor injury during the third ODI in Ranchi. The fast bowler was hit on his leg by a straight drive and he had to leave the pitch as his injury required medical attention. However, he returned soon and completed his 10 overs quota.
Before the fourth and fifth ODI in Mohali and New Delhi, which will be played on March 10 and 13 respectively, Shami’s fitness is set to be assessed with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in line to replace him if required.
Virat Kohli, speaking in the post-match presentation, said that their mindset of winning games will not change despite the changes in the playing XI with an eye on the World Cup. India currently lead the series 2-1. Winning first and second ODI helped the hosts to gain command over the Aussies.
However, Australia made a solid comeback to the series by handing India 32-run defeat after they posted 313 for 5 in 50 overs in third ODI.
“We will have a few changes in the next couple of games. We have to figure out what those changes are. But the idea is to go out there and win matches and take a lot of pride in winning games for the country. That mindset will not change. We will have a few new faces and they will have to make the most of their chances because there is a World Cup coming and everyone wants to be on that flight,” said Kohli.