By: Shubham Kulkarni
India continued its good form in the ODI format, winning the five-match series against the New Zealand 4-1. This series was all about the preparation for the big event in England. After the series, it seems that India is well prepared for the World Cup whereas New Zealand had a reality check. Let’s have a look as to how many slots are still to be filled for these two teams after this series.
The Indian team is looking more or less settled and it would be surprising if there are many places up for grabs. The top three pick themselves. Ambati Rayudu’s innings of 90 in the last game has booked his place for the World Cup as India’s No. 4. It seems that MS Dhoni is going to bat at No.5 for India in England. Kedar Jadhav’s handy contributions at the end and his knack of picking up wickets are enough to seal a World Cup spot. Hardik Pandya just showed us what the Indian team missed. After a controversial month, he’s got a spot in the side.
Talking about the bowlers, Man of the Series Mohammad Shami was the biggest positive for India. His great performance puts an end to the debate of the third seamer to back up Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will definitely be there in England.
As for the rest of the roster, Dinesh Karthik hasn’t done anything wrong to lose a place in the side. He should be on that plane to England as the backup keeper. This leaves two more roster spots. One of those will be either of Ravindra Jadeja or Vijay Shankar. The team management looked impressed by Shankar’s batting in the fifth ODI and even promoted him at No.3 in the T20Is. Jadeja might be slightly ahead in the race due to experience but you can’t rule out Shankar.
The last spot will be accommodated by an extra batsman who most likely will be a reserve opener. Shubman Gill didn’t impress in this series so he won’t get that place. According to selectors, Ajinkya Rahane is in contention and we might see him in action against Australia. At the moment, there is no place for the youngster Rishabh Pant but anything can happen in the next three months.
The Blackcaps have a problem at the top. Both the openers struggled for runs in the series. Martin Guptill is a certainty but there are questions over Colin Munro, who has been dropped for the next ODI series against Bangladesh. New Zealand is trying out Henry Nicholls at the top. The team’s middle-order wasn’t at its best but it is pretty much settled with the likes of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Tom Latham.
The Kiwis have another question and that’s about their seam-bowling all-rounder. Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, and Doug Bracewell are the three options out of which two might make the cut. Even though they didn’t do anything special, Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner will most likely be New Zealand’s spinners for the World Cup. Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Lockie Ferguson will make up a great pace battery especially in English conditions. There are a few backup slots yet to be filled for the Kiwis. They will look to fill them up in the upcoming series against Bangladesh.