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Toss could play a crucial role

There is huge anticipation ahead of the Jaipur ODI and not without reason.

cricket Updated: Feb 21, 2010 00:17 IST

There is huge anticipation ahead of the Jaipur ODI and not without reason. Though key personnel are missing, the shorter-version specialists are no less exciting. The likes of Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Herschelle Gibbs and Johan Botha bring their own flavour.

Yet, India must consider itself a tad unlucky in missing Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir, not to speak of Yuvraj Singh.

Unwittingly, the toss could be of uncommon importance in these day-nighters. Batting second is advantageous, especially in Jaipur where the chill is in no hurry to leave. After his poor luck with toss in Tests, M.S. Dhoni would be keen get on a roll early in the series.

ODIs in India are usually a run-feast and in this respect India have heavy artillery. South Africa will miss Graeme Smith though nothing seems beyond Hashim Amla. Jacques Kallis will have the added motivation of captaincy to make up for the disappointment of the Tests.

India are missing key men in opening, middle and end of an innings. Sreesanth usually does well against Proteas and he will certainly steam in. His presence could bring better luck for the Indians against the likes of Amla.

India have been a little indifferent in the field and with the ball so this is an area where the hosts need to brush up. It’s about time the combinations are set right for the World Cup. As has always been the case, a few early wickets help a side immensely and India will hope Ashish Nehra and Sreesanth do the needful.