Sanga’s. Outplayed. Soldiers.
Dhoni said it himself, T20’s are just warm ups for ODIs which the boards decided to package and monetize. So having gotten through the warm ups with a warm up to each, India and Sri Lanka will now meet in a 5 ODI series beginning Tuesday.
The Indian selectors have for a change made decisions which were begging to be made instead of waiting for a major balls up which would have seen us exit a prestigious tournament prematurely. (Oh wait, that happened. Twice this year)
Gambhir, Sehwag and Dhoni warmed themselves up nicely in the T20s, Yuvi got carried away and over warmed himself which means he will sit out of the first ODI at Rajkot which means Virat Kohli gets another chance to play and score more than 30 odd runs before throwing away his wicket.
Thankfully, Yusuf Pathan is still out. Unfortunately, Ravindra Jadeja has been retained. So while we won’t get to see 2 ball ducks, we will get 19 ball 5s and one, maybe two stupid, entirely avoidable run outs. The real all round strength will be in the form of Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar, both of whom managed runs against the Australians.
Zaheer returns to the ODI squad where he will share the new ball with his old pal Nehra. It’ll be interesting to see the two try to claim their place in the team before Sreesanth recovers from Swine Flu.
The Sri Lankan squad has some interesting developments, Lasith Malinga may be out with a fever and Dilhara Fernando could take his place in the side. Muralitharan is fit to return to the team but that leaves Ajantha Mendis on the sidelines.
Sanath Jayasuriya will move down the middle order while Dilshan opens the batting with Tharanga. The move to bring in Thilana Samaraweera failed at the Champions Trophy but Chamara Kapugedera has been scoring with a vengeance since then and ought to get a chance here.
I expected SHT Kandamby to play in the tests after the solid year he has had in ODIs but that was not to be.
India’s victory in the tests was more comprehensive than expected and SL had the right to feel aggrieved at the decisions that went against them but the truth remains that they were massively outplayed. Even when SL fought back in the T20, India never gave up, heck, even Ashish Nehra came out and whacked the Lankan bowling around.
Their ODI record against India has been pitiful of late. After the Asia Cup final where Mahela unleashed Mendis on India, the Indian batsmen have responded strongly and India has won three ODI series against SL.
This is SL’s chance to catch a weary Indian team on the backfoot. Sanga looks like the man who’s gonna kill himself trying to haul his team over the line. He needs a partner in crime to help him pull it off. Drop your Sehwag scrapbook Dilshan, get off the couch Mendis, get off the rocking chair Murali and deliver what your captain asks you to.