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Utility players like Jadeja should be nurtured

india Updated: Jan 10, 2013 23:47 IST
Sourav Ganguly column

India start afresh against England and, I believe, the boys will be a lot more confident after their win in the last match against Pakistan at Delhi in trying conditions. After having lost the Test series, this is one format where India will start favourites - well, that's what the history says.

India have not been at their best for the last few months and that will be the real challenge for the team. I believe Cheteshwar Pujara will be the man for the moment after his terrific knock in the Ranji Trophy match. Will he play number three in place of Virat Kohli, or will he open the innings?

Even Kohli can be pushed to the opening slot. This will be an important call, which the team management will need to take because the middle-order -from four to seven - looks settled.

Ravindra Jadeja is a good prospect to have at number seven; he provides the team with the option of a regular fifth bowler, gives depth to batting and is a superb fielder. He is one utility player who the team management would love to nurture.

India's bowling is a bunch of fresh boys who need to be taken care of. Bhuvnesh Kumar swings the ball well but he will be tested a bit at the venues where India play England. The conditions at Rajkot, Kochi, Ranchi will not be the same as in Chennai or Kolkata, or even Delhi. The pitches at these venues will be absolute batting beauties, which will be to the liking of Indian batters.

England players need to acclimatise
England don't have many players who played in the Test series. Swann, Panesar will not be there and it will be some test for this young bowling side. The toss will not be a factor in this series, as the venues where the matches will be played are not overly affected by climatic factors.

It will be the batting of both sides, which will be the key to the series. England have not beaten India here in the past, but, like in the Test series, they have caught India at a time when they look vulnerable. But, I still feel India will start favourites as the England spin attack looks thin.

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The writer is a former India captain