India are coming into the home series against South Africa with lots of positives from a dominant performance against the West Indies in their own backyard. After the semi-final exit from the World Cup, India were back in business with success across all the formats.
However, there have been instances in the recent past where certain individuals have been provided with ample opportunities but have failed to prove their mettle at the highest level which has, in turn, affected the India's results.
The World Cup semifinal exposed the middle order crisis which has to be rectified at the soonest. In order to do that, the selectors have to rope in fresh talent to stabilize the batting lineup in the limited overs format.
Coming to the bowling attack, India has shown a drastic improvement in recent times with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the spin duo firing with all cylinders. But there are times when your frontline bowlers need rest, so someone else has to share their workload. The current back-up bowlers have been inconsistent, and lack the ability to provide breakthroughs in ODIs.
Overall, a minor team reshuffle is required in order to fix all these issues. Let us take a look at three changes India might make for the upcoming ODI series:
#3 Resting Mohammed Shami
Since his return to the ODI side against West Indies in 2018, Mohammad Shami has been at his absolute best, capturing 40 wickets in this period. Shami is vastly underrated, but he has always been a top contributor. His performance in the World Cup was excellent too, as he took 14 wickets including a hat-trick against Afghanistan.
Shami also led the pace attack in the ODIs against the West Indies in the recently concluded series where Bumrah was rested. One major concern of Shami’s initial career was with his injuries. But the rejuvenated bowler has been part of the Test as well as the ODI squad in the recent past, highlighting his fitness levels.
That said, every fast bowler needs to conserve energy and remain injury-free. In order to manage the workload and provide him rest, the selectors might want to go with other options who are familiar with home conditions and can be considered as future prospects for the team.
#2 Dropping Khaleel Ahmed
Despite having a fiery pace attack, the Indian team lacks left-arm fast bowlers who can provide some variety. There was a time when the team had the likes of Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and RP Singh who used to regularly rip apart the opposition. That's not the case right now.
In order to regain that variety, the selection committee chose Khaleel Ahmed, who was part of the U19 squad in 2016, for the Asia Cup in 2018.
The young lad met their expectation as he took 11 wickets in the first six ODIs he played. He then played a match each against the Aussies and the Kiwis, but went wicketless.
Khaleel returned to the XI for the West Indies series, when Bumrah was rested after the World Cup. Even though he picked wickets, he went for a lot of runs in those ODIs due to his inconsistency of line and length.
On top of that, Navdeep Saini impressed everyone with his performance in the T20Is. If the selectors pick Bumrah in the squad, Khaleel might miss out this time.
#1 Dropping Kedar Jadhav
Every Indian fan will remember the 120 off 76 balls that Kedar Jadhav scored against England in 2017 in his hometown Pune when India were chasing a massive total. Since then, Jadhav has been an integral part of the team, playing in 47 ODIs and scoring close to 1300 runs in that period. But he has not been able to produce a match-winning performance in recent times.
Coming in at No. 5 or No. 6, Jadhav is expected to play the finisher role whenever the team has got off to a good start, or play the anchor role when the team is in a soup. But lately, he has been inconsistent with the bat and has been criticized for not striking from the word go.
Jadhav scored his runs at just 80.81 in the World Cup, which had a huge impact on India's eventual totals. Taking all this into account, it is safe to say that he is in the firing line and could be dropped for the upcoming ODI series.