BAN vs IND 2022-23, 3rd ODI: Can injury-hit India survive a whitewash scare against Bangladesh?
BAN vs IND 2022-23: India will meet Bangladesh in the third and final Chittagong/Chottogram ODI on Saturday. As the visitors stare at a whitewash, the injury-hit side would need to do something miraculous.
A struggling Indian team, severely depleted by a spate of on-field injuries and fitness-related problems, will be determined to avoid the ignominy of a clean sweep against Bangladesh in the final One-Day International (ODI) of the three-match series here on Saturday. After winning the first two matches, Bangladesh, riding on two contrasting yet brilliant knocks from Mehidy Hasan Miraz, has already sealed the series. Still, if Litton Das' men can blank the Men in Blue 3-0, it will be a historic first in the country's cricket. Not only will it be the icing on the cake for the hosts, but it will also significantly dent the visiting team's confidence ahead of the Test series, starting at this venue in less than a week (December 14).
There were 20 cricketers initially available for India for this series since there was a short turnaround time between the first ODI in Bangladesh and the last game in New Zealand, as some players in both squads were familiar. But, call it a cruel twist of fate, as within a week, things have gone from bad to worse, and they only have 14 fit and available players to choose from for the final game.
Such has been the plight that chinaman Kuldeep Yadav has been flown into Chattogram on Save Our Ship (SOS) basis as the Indian bowling attack looks thin on experience. The left-arm wrist spinner with 118 wickets from 72 ODIs will be the most experienced bowler in the line-up. Regular skipper Rohit Sharma sustained a left thumb dislocation and has flown back home.
Up-and-coming pacer Kuldeep Sen suffered a back injury after playing his first international game. Seamer Deepak Chahar continued his saga of breaking down in almost all the series he has played since his comeback from a long lay-off. Additionally, all-rounder Axar Patel suffered a hit in the ribs and missed the first game. At the same time, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, who flew from New Zealand, reportedly had a niggle and had to be rested for an excessive workload before this series.
There will be two forced changes in the playing XI, with Rohit and Chahar already unavailable. It is there to be seen whether India brings in keeper-opener Ishan Kishan into the playing XI or stand-in skipper-cum-keeper-opener KL Rahul, who is now a designated middle-order batter in this format, decides to promote himself just like during the tour of South Africa.
The other option is continuing with the openers Virat Kohli-Shikhar Dhawan combination and getting someone like Rahul Tripathi, who can also bowl some cutters at mid-120 clicks, in the playing XI. If the team management goes for a pure batter rather than a utility player, then the stylish Rajat Patidar could get his first game for India.
In the case of Chahar's replacement, there isn't a backup pacer available, and the team might not have an option but to fall back to all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, who could be the sixth bowling option. India's five-pronged bowling attack will be Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umran Malik, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel.
With no Jasprit BUmrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian bowling unit's performance at the back end has been far from impressive. In the first match, it was plain and straightforward poor bowling when only one wicket to get, and 51 runs were still required, while in the second game, Bangladesh scored 200-plus runs after being six down for 69.
In the second game, Chahar's breakdown with another hamstring injury prompted skipper Rohit to make a terse statement about how one needs to get to the bottom of the issue to find out why so many players (fast bowlers significantly) are getting injured in recent times. While a full-strength Bangladesh will start as favourites in the final game, the bigger worry will be Rahul, the skipper.
Rahul's record, save in the ODI series win against a below-par Zimbabwe, has been dismal, and the last thing he would need is another clean sweep defeat against his name after the tour of South Africa. There needs to be more indication that Rahul is a long-time future India captain, not having displayed any above-average leadership acumen in the matches he has captained.
India: KL Rahul (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Mohammed Siraj, Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Umran Malik and Kuldeep Yadav.
Bangladesh: Litton Das (c & wk), Anamul Hague (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman (wk), Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Ebadot Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Mahmud Ullah, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nurul Hasan (wk) and Shoriful Islam.
Date and day: December 10, 2022 (Saturday)
Venue: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong/Chottogram
Time: 11.30 AM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Sony Ten 5 (English), Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) and Sony Ten 4 (Tamil and Telugu) - Also available in HD
Where to watch (Online): Sony LIV
(With inputs from PTI)