Injuries to key players pose a threat to India’s World Cup hopes

  • Anand Sachar, Hindustan Times, Melbourne
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2015 02:10 IST

Every side craves for a set team before a World Cup. It is the biggest event on the cricket calendar, but for the time being, India will stay unsettled.

This is no time to try out combinations, and crucially, this is not the time to pick up serious injuries.

A packed schedule always leaves the India team facing the threat of injuries on tour. Ishant Sharma picked up a knee niggle ahead of the fourth Test in Sydney and Ravindra Jadeja missed the entire Test series owing to an injured shoulder. Though Ishant and Jadeja have almost recovered, they will not be rushed into the tri-series opener against Australia on Sunday, further weakening the young bowling unit.

Managing workload

“Ishant and Jadeja are not available for the first game because we are still managing their workload. That is why we have Mohit Sharma and Dhawal Kulkarni here to manage our resources,” said MS Dhoni.

“They are in the team because they are in line to make the World Cup if someone gets injured, that is the major thinking.”

As on Friday, Ishant had a spell only towards the end of Saturday’s practice session. Mohit bowled non-stop, suggesting he could start against Australia.

Similarly, Jadeja was fluent with the bat. But there was still no rolling of the arm for some left-
arm spin. It was Axar Patel all the way.

It is Jadeja’s absence that could haunt the Indians. Considered one of India’s best all-round hopes and with the experience of being a regular over the last four years, he could add firepower to the lower order with his powerful strokes and stifle the opponents with his accurate spin.

It was impressive to watch Axar flight the ball, something he is not known for, and he even beat Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina. For now, Dhoni can only hope the youngster is an able replacement for Jadeja when the opportunity comes by.

“As of now, we would want to pick players only from the World Cup 15. These replacements can provide injured players time to recover, so for the tri-series we are a 17-man squad. There are quite a few with niggles here and there,” said Dhoni.

The team would do well to rotate its bowlers. Dhoni’s inexperienced bowling line-up is walking on thin ice, and if another bowler suffers an injury, retaining the World Cup could stay a dream.

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