India have bagged the six-match ODI series 4-1 against South Africa, and there is still one ODI remaining to be played at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Will India make it 5-1, or will South Africa defend their pride, are questions that must be crossing every cricket pundit’s mind, but what has found more resonance in the cricketing circles, is a curiosity that maybe India can put some of it’s players to rest, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and give the youngsters the opportunity to take the stage, with little-to-nothing to lose in the 6th ODI.
Speaking about the same issue, former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar and former South Africa first-class cricketer Daryll Cullinan, gave their insights as to what changes the ‘Men in Blue’ should or should not make for the 6th ODI against South Africa.
While tweaking the squad a little bit here and there could give the India youngsters opportunities to get some game-time and rich cricket experience, it is worthy to note that India would never be okay with letting the last ODI slip away easily.
Relatively new Team India additions like Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey, and even Mohammed Shami, who haven’t played much cricket in South Africa could be in line to enter the 6th ODI as the ‘Playing XI’, but it is only a guess that we can make, until we see the India line-up on Friday (16 February).
India will go for a 5-1 ODI series win against South Africa
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Daryll Cullinan said that while the changes in Indian squad were possible, knowing India skipper Virat Kohli, there are not very high chances for any major changes to happen. Cullinan said that it is clear Virat Kohli wants to win the six-match ODI series 5-1, and playing the 6th ODI in Centurion is another plus point, as India has a happy history from that venue.
Cullinan added that even South Africa could be expected to make some tweaks to their line-up for the 6th ODI, as after the ODI series is done, both the teams will enter a three-match T20 series, and no one wants to tire their top players. According to the former South African cricketer, we could expect Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, and/or Imran Tahir getting back in the mix.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be rested: Ajit Agarkar
Speaking about how many changes India line-up should see for the 6th ODI, former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar said that India should make as many changes as they can. He said that it is a nice opportunity to test the more inexperienced players in different conditions, as Indian conditions don’t always paint the right picture. Agarkar said,
“As many as they can. I know it’s difficult, you don’t want to give someone a game easily. I think for me, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) has probably looked a little flat, and it probable has to do with the fatigue. He has bowled a lot over the last few months, even though he played just 2 Tests (against South Africa), but he is one guy you want to keep fresh. It’s a good opportunity to give him bit of a break, and you want to try out a few batsmen who haven’t played in the series.”
“Whether they do it or not is anyone’s guess. We have seen Virat Kohli not do it very often. But I hope he does because it’s a opportunity to test the new players in different conditions, and sometimes the Indian conditions don’t give you the right picture.”