India’s last match against England was a really poor show for the world’s best cricket team. It’s not the loss that rankles, but the way they lost, refusing to go for a win, and almost giving up without a fight.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arguably India’s most popular cricketer of all time, has come in for a lot of criticism. There are a lot of people in India – most of them Dhoni fans – who want him out of the side for not trying hard enough. One of them is former Captain Saurav Ganguly.
Ganguly is perhaps Team India’s biggest cheerleader and Dhoni’s greatest fan, and the most influential voice in Indian cricket. If you have lost Ganguly’s support that is the worst thing that can happen to you in Indian cricket.
Fortunately though, we have a match today itself. Redemption is possible, both for Team India and MS Dhoni, but they have to give it all for this match. A loss here can be unthinkable.
Bangladesh are no deadwood. They are a seriously good team with perhaps the best all-rounder in world cricket – Shakib ul Hasan. India will have to play out of their skin to win this one, after the humiliation suffered on Sunday.
They must get rid of players like Kedar Jadhav, who add nothing to the team. Vijay Shankar is out with an injury, which is very good news for Indian cricket fans.
Dinesh Karthik should come into the side. It’s good that Rishabh Pant is already in the team now. Another possible change is bringing in Ravindra Jadeja in place of either of the two spinners. They went for a lot of runs in the last match. Jadeja is India’s best fielder – perhaps the best in the world and a handy lower order batsman. He must play!
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Liton Das, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman
India: 1 KL Rahul, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
The pitch at Edgbaston in Birmingham has a reputation for being flat and slow. What that means is it is painfully difficult for the side batting second to score runs quickly. Which is why toss will play a major role in this match. Fortunately, a full day’s play is in prospect. No rain!
Prediction: Tight contest, but India to win. Clearly, they are the stronger side.