Ranchi ODI: Captain Dhoni has a lot to worry about

India only have 5 ODI matches left before Champions Trophy

Indian cricket team will look to win the series as they play New Zealand in the 4th ODI at Ranchi on Wednesday. India lead 2-1 and a win at Ranchi will seal the series.  One of the biggest attractions of the match will be captain MS Dhoni, who will play in his home ground. The batsman promoted himself to number 4 in Mohali. Dhoni struck 80 in 91 balls .Virat Kohli scored 154 runs not out that won the match for India.

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium Complex has been lucky for India as they have won 2 out of 3 ODIs here. They have also won a T20 international. It is also a happy hunting ground for Virat Kohli as he has scored 77 and 139 not out at this venue. The challenges for captain Dhoni, however, is not only about winning the match. Team management has bigger plans.

India only have 5 ODI matches left before Champions Trophy. India are entering a Test-heavy season. After these two matches, India will play three ODIs against England. Then, they will directly enter into the ICC event. Captain Dhoni is grappling with many answered questions before that.

Match finisher
Dhoni has promoted himself up the order. He has said that he wanted to score and leave the job of finishing the match to others. They are difficult shoes to fill. So far, top order batsman Virat Kohli is doing that for India. But there is no one to finish off if both Dhoni and Kohli get out.

Champions Trophy will be played in England. The conditions there are conducive to pace-bowling. Indian pace attack in the New Zealand series has been largely unimpressive. Pacers impressed in Dharamsala. But in the remaining two matches, they didn’t trouble the batsmen. Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya have been very expensive. In Mohali ODI, Umesh Yadav gave away 75 runs in 10 overs. Jasprit Bumrah has been economical but not among wickets.

Team management is struggling to develop Hardik Pandya as a fast-bowling all-rounder. Pandya showed promise but has not been able to deliver the way management would have wanted. With just 5 matches remaining before Champions Trophy, he would not have much time to settle down. He will have to optimise his performance rather quickly.

Indian middle-order is not as robust as it used to be. Raina is out for the series. Even if he comes back in side against England, there is no guarantee he would be in a fine touch as he has not played any match in a year. Kedar Jadhav has showed some promise. He scored a quick 41 in losing cause in Delhi ODI. He is already troubling the batsmen with his slow speed and ball trajectory. But, he has a lot to prove before he is considered Raina’s replacement.

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