Indian Cricket Team for Sri Lanka: An Analysis

Ashish ChitaliaContributor IJanuary 27, 2009

The Indian team announced showed lots of promise; however, there are some players' selections that raise the eyebrows.

Firstly, with Rohit Sharma, it seems he is not sure what role he has in the team and seems to be vacillating between test terms and ODI terms. He is not been a consistent contributor either, so as for the question between him and Raina, Raina leads so far. Further, unless Ohja did an exceedingly good job on the bench, there doesn't seem to any other rationale that would let him get selected over two leggies: Chawla or Mishra.

Agreed, he actually bowled pretty economically in the last ODI series in August. But if you look at it from Sri Lanka's perspective, they will rather play Ohja over Mishra, as Mishra is a leg spinners and Sri Lankan batsmen will find it difficult as they do not have quality "in-house" leg spinner to practise in the nets. I would regret not watching Sri Lanka crumbling in front of Mishra. 

India will definitely miss Harbhajan Singh, as statistically he is the most effective bowler in Sri Lankan conditions. Oh well, he is getting fitter for the New Zealand tour, and he didn't do a great job recently at home.

Batting-wise, India looks much stronger with the likes of Y. Pathan coming in at No. 7 or 8. In addition, India undoubtedly have the resources to tackle Sri Lankan bowling; however, it depends on the pressure at a given day.

Comparing this Indian batting lineup with the one in August 2008, you can see, ironically, Sehwag and Sachin are the new additions. This suggests that Sachin has never played Mendis in ODI's, which will make it an interesting contest.

In addition, Sachin and Sehwag has never played against the successful rookie Nuwan Kulesekara, so it will be highly unpredictable, as this can either turn to a threat or a treat.

R. Jadeja's show has been seen in IPL under the leadership of great Shane Warne and the recent Ranji feat. However, can he tackle Mendis and Murli at No. 7? Can he act on the generous tips of Shane to get rid of two well-set Jayas or Sangakara? Can be prove better than Y. Pathan or par with Y. Pathan? These are the questions he needs to ask himself, and answers to these are to be seen by us.

Recently, the importance of the No. 7-8 batsman has increased due to the advent of batting power play. My money is on Y. Pathan to capitalize on that situation much better.

All in all, I can't wait for the nerve-tickling uncertainty with Mendis and Murli charging in tandem to Yuvi and Dhoni. Every bowl is going to be a big mystery. I am really looking forward to this heart-propping moment, especially while Indian chasing a big Sri Lankan target.

It will be a great contest to watch and an opportunity for Indian batsmen to show that they can perform anywhere and in any conditions—including the background drums and trumpets of Sri Lankan supporters.