Dubai : Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successful “CSK template” is likely to be continued as the Indian team management has more or less made up its mind to play the same eleven against New Zealand in the ‘do or die’ T20 World Cup game on Sunday.
The CSK template in Indian cricketing lingo is not tinkering with the side after one defeat or for that matter not rocking the boat till its required.
The only disclaimer would be if anyone is not fit to play on Sunday, then only there would be a change in the set-up.
The poor show against Pakistan has led to some serious questions being raised about the team combination but one understands that ‘Mentor’ Dhoni’s influence will be writ large on the kind of outfit that will be played against the Black Caps.
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This effectively rules out any chance of Shardul Thakur replacing Hardik Pandya in the playing XI as no one is learnt to be comfortable betting on “Shardul the No 7 batter’.
It is understood that all the decision makers in the Indian team set-up feel that No 7 is too high a batting position for Shardul.
As far as his bowling is concerned, the Munbai man is a wicket-taking bowler but has a propensity to leak a lot of runs with an economy rate of close to 9 runs per over.
Pandya has started bowling and is understandably under the pump as everyone is running out of patience and no one knows it better than the ‘Baroda bomber’.
He is fully aware that everyone who were intimated that he would be bowling, are now intently watching what he does.
With chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma committing that Pandya would bowl in the IPL, he has been put in an embarrassing position and it also makes the all-rounder’s position untenable if he doesn’t bowl a single over.
Shardul could have still played but if sources are to be believed then the seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be persisted with against the Black Caps as his variations, if executed properly, makes him a handy customer.
Varun Chakravarthy, if fully fit, is expected to be more than a handful against the Kiwis and in case of Ravichandran Ashwin, who can spell doom for left-handers, it’s still not evident that skipper Virat Kohli is too keen to tinker with his slow bowling combination.