Loss of Sachin, Viru will be hard to overcome

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 07:46 hrs

India will go into the five match one-day series with a lot more confidence after their close win over Pakistan in the final game of that series. They know that they still have many problems to address, but with England losing their two warm up games, they too will be a lot less confident, despite their brilliant Test win a few weeks ago.

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Much water has flown under the bridge since the Nagpur Test match and India have lost two of their most prolific and destructive players in the one- day game. While Sehwag can make a comeback if he shows that he really wants to play at this level, 'the master' having read the signs or perhaps being told by the selectors, opted to retire from the one-day format.

The loss of two such outstanding contributors will not be easy for India to bear, especially since the younger lot is still struggling to find some semblance of form. Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj are not quite hitting the ball in the middle of the bat and a lot of it has to do with the footwork where they need to put in some extra effort. Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the only two, who are batting for a few overs and helping India get some score on the board.

India though have found a couple of good bowling prospects in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed. While Shami Ahmed impressed with his line in the game that he played against Pakistan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar got the ball to move prodigiously both ways and proved quite a handful to the Pakistani batsmen.

He may not have the same effect on the English batsmen as they play swing bowling day in day out, but even they will watch out for him. Uttar Pradesh may have been knocked out of the Ranji trophy by the Services team, but the BCCI would do well to hire the services of their coach under whom they regularly seem to produce bowlers, who swing the ball so well.

India’s spin is a bit of a worry as Ashwin has not made much of an impact and Jadeja needs help from the pitch to be effective. Both are useful batsmen of course and that works in their favour. Add to that Jadeja's brilliance as a fielder and he does make for a useful addition to the team.

The one big plus for India in the limited overs series has been the fielding. With Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Jadeja and Rahane in the team, it is a top class fielding unit and will not concede runs as easily as the Test team did.

The selectors have done well in recognizing current form and making Dhoni the skipper, and thus ending any talk of a replacement. That and the losses in the just concluded matches should motivate the captain to take the team to a different level and make 2013 a better year for Indian cricket than the last one.

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