After a thrilling first ODI between India and England at Pune, the action will shift to Cuttack when both the sides will lock horns on January 19. While centuries from Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav proved enough to bail India out of trouble in the first ODI, there are certain issues that Kohli and co. needs to address before the second ODI.
Here are 5 things that Virat Kohli must be concerned about:
1. Get the opening combination right
Opening combination has been a problem for India for some time now, especially because of plenty of options that have emerged for the top two spots. Rohit Sharma’s injury hasn’t helped the case either.
In the first ODI, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul opened the innings for India and if the team management decides to go into the 2nd match with the same combination, they need to make it count. Ajinkya Rahane scored 91 in the second warm-up game and it will hard to keep him out for too long.
2. Avoid losing wickets in bunch
Men in blue failed to stitch big partnerships in the 1st ODI. Even though Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav added 200 runs for the fifth wicket, the second highest partnership was of 38 runs between Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin for the eighth wicket.
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Ideally, India would want their top batsmen like MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and others to be involved in bigger partnerships because Virat Kohli may not be able to save them from embarrassment every time.
3. Wickets with the new ball
While England pushed India into a deep hole by picking up four wickets in the first 12 overs, Indian fast bowlers failed to make any impact with the new ball. The only England wicket that fell in the first 18 overs was of Alex Hales who was run out.
Indian seamers led by Mohammad Shami were highly impressive in the Test series but Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav started with the new ball in the first ODI in Shami’s absence. Yadav was very expensive giving away 63 runs from his 7 overs and Virat Kohli might be tempted to include Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the side for the second ODI.
4. Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance with the ball
Ravichandran Ashwin to Indian bowling is what Virat Kohli to batting is. However, he failed to have any impact on the first game. For some reasons Ashwin kept a very defensive line and went for 63 runs from his 8 overs. In fact, it’s been more than 12 months since he picked up a wicket in the ODIs.
This was one of the reasons why India failed to break partnerships in the middle overs. If India wants to stop England from scoring big in the coming matches, Ashwin needs to improve.
5. Death bowling
This is not a new problem for the Indian side. Death bowling woes have existed in Indian cricket for almost two decades now. So many captains have come and gone but failed to solve this problem and now its Virat Kohli’s turns.
Despite his dismal performance in the first game, Bumrah is still India’s biggest hope in the slog overs due to his ability to hit the block hole. However, he will need support from the other end.