AUSvIND, 4th ODI: Warner walks in but who goes out?: It is often said, when a team is winning matches, the captain and the team management does not like experimenting too much with the playing XI. Even though a few minor changes is always expected in the bowling department (depending on the pitch conditions), most teams otherwise stick to the winning combination.
Teams want to play with the unchanged side to keep the winning momentum going but it’s the reverse when a team ends up on the losing side in more games than one. The scenario though is completely different at the moment in this Australian side. A problem of plenty leaves Steve Smith and the team management with a lot of thinking to do. While every team’s think tank try all permutations and combinations to find that perfect winning combination, at the moment in the Australian squad, it remains to be seen how will they accommodate one in form player at the cost of another in form player.
The abundance of riches in the Australian ODI squad means, they now need to decide their playing XI for the remaining two ODIs. And even though they have taken an unassailable lead in the 5 match ODI series, they are not the ones to relax and sit back. In fact trust them to go for the kill in their bid to achieve a series white wash against India and this means; they will go all out against the Indians in the last two ODIs of the series as well.
Who goes out for David Warner? That’s the big question in front of Steve Smith and his think tank. Since Australian vice-Captain and their key player David Warner is back in the side after missing last two ODI’s because of birth of his second child, Indi Rae, this must be one of the difficult task in front of selection panel to decide playing XI.
It is almost certain that Warner will get his place back in the team as an opener and thus someone else has to make a way for him. Let’s try to find out who are the main contenders for making way for Warner in fourth ODI:
Probably he is on top of this list because of Australian selector’s policy, last-man-in-first-man-out policy. Since he was included in the team in place of David Warner, he is the man who will now be asked to return the favour despite of his impressive innings in last ODI’s. He provided strong starts for Australia in both the matches which made things tough for India in both the games. In his innings of 62 in the last match, he showed patience, maturity and a lot of controlled aggression there by building a foundation for the Australian innings.. Apart from Glen Maxwell, he was the only player who faced Indian bowlers without any difficulties.
If this happens then this won’t be the first time when Shaun Marsh will face such type of situation. Recently he experienced the same in the Test match against New Zealand. Marsh had replaced injured Usman Khawaja against New Zealand and later scored 182 against West Indies but had to make way for Usman Khawaja when he came back into the side. Honestly, it will be unfair to leave Shaun Marsh out after his back to back performances.
Although it looks very difficult but can Aaron Finch make way for his regular partner in fourth ODI ? He has not been able to score runs in last two ODIs but it will be unfair to judge him out of the form based on just two innings. He scored 71 runs in first match of the series and probably the selection panel would not like to disturb him from his regular position except if they plan to give him rest.
It may be younger brother who will vacate his place for elder brother Shaun because of his low performance as an all-rounder in the series. Mitch Marsh has played all Test matches for Australia in this summer but hasn’t been able to make any mark with the bat or ball either in this series. He was rested for second ODI but missed an opportunity to take his team home in third ODI with bat when needed. He scored just 13 and smith restricted him only for only two overs while bowling.
At the same time, Glenn Maxwell after his match winning innings would be eager to contribute more for Australia. Leaving Mitchell Marsh out will mean, Smith will have to use Maxwell’s full quota of ten overs without having any further options. Also, Maxwell after his batting blitzkrieg may just be hoping he is pushed up the batting order from his usual position
Even though this selection headache only projects Australia’s depth in the side, dropping Shaun Marsh would be really harsh on him. Mitchell Marsh brings in a lot of utility in the side and leaving him out will mean the work load on Australia’s inexperienced bowling attack will double up. Warner is the vice-captain and rightfully walks back into the side and for Finch he may just be rested to rejuvenate so that he can comeback stronger. Shaun Marsh would be hoping he continues his rich vein of form and prove his worth in a side that has so much competition for places.