India find themselves in a pretty intriguing situation in the tri-series. There are many equations involved if they are to qualifying for the three-match finals. They have to first ensure that they beat Sri Lanka with a bonus point on Tuesday. But even that will not confirm their ticket to the finals, because if Sri Lanka beat Australia in the last league match, they will advance on the basis of garnering more points than India.
So, while on paper it looks India have a chance, the scenario is complicated and difficult. Their passage to the finals is still possible but with the form they are in, the job looks pretty difficult.
Also, there is a mental thing attached to it. The Asia Cup selection is round the corner. Newspaper reports suggest that some players could be dropped. These things are bound to play on the players' minds, especially when you are at the fag end of such a long, tough and terrible series.
So, for India, it is not only a matter of fighting the opponents on the field, but also fighting the situation off it. No one can be held responsible for this except the Indians themselves.
India will play at Hobart for the first time and they should enjoy the batting conditions.
The big question is will Suresh Raina be persisted with even after what he has done in the series?
I hope Manoj Tiwary will at last be given a chance. He has been through this before and one can feel for him.
India can think about getting Rohit Sharma in place of Ravindra Jadeja as Irfan Pathan has done well as an all-rounder. Also, Virender Sehwag bowled pretty well in the last match.
So, Pathan, fitting in as an all-rounder, will give India the option to include a batter.
I was surprised not to see Zaheer Khan play in the crucial game against Australia. We hope his body is fine!
Sri Lanka are in a far better situation than India. They will have a slight edge as they have played at Hobart before. Also, they are more settled as a team than India. Ever since Mahela Jayawardene moved to the top slot, the team looks better balanced. Also, it's unlikely they would become complacent, as they know they could still be out of the tournament if they lose the remaining two matches badly. So, Sri Lanka will come hard at the Indians.
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(The writer is a former India captain)