India vs Australia: In Suresh Raina's absence, MS Dhoni likely to utilise Manish Pandey, Gurkeerat Mann
Pandey, Gurkeerat were included in the Indian ODI squad, even as the experienced Suresh Raina was given the boot following a series of relatively poor outings.
New Delhi: With the touring Indian limited overs team taking on an Western Australia in two warm-up matches, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to give Manish Pandey and Gurkeerat Singh Mann chances to impress.
The unheralded batting duo were included in the Indian One-Day International squad, even as the experienced Suresh Raina was given the boot following a series of relatively poor outings.
The situation compounded the Indian batting woes in the middle-order, as reflected in the recently concluded series against South Africa.
However, the Australia series offers Dhoni a good chance to try out new combinations with both Pandey and Gurkeerat, and also address the contentious number 5 position. They have both scored heavily in domestic circuit.
Pandey is one ODI-match old, against Zimbabwe scoring 71. But Gurkeerat is yet to make his debut, even though he was a part of the Indian squad during the South Africa series.
Like Raina, Gurkeerat is considered a handy part-time bowler, with his crafty off-breaks.
Considering the many issues that the Indian team is going through, Team Director Ravi Shastri and Dhoni can blood in the youngsters and give them the chance to shine in international stage.
India play first warm-up match, an unofficial T20 match, against a possible Western Australia second-string team at WACA, Perth tomorrow. It will be followed by yet another unofficial 50-over match against the same oppositions on the same venue.
The series starts on January 12 at WACA with the first of five ODIs. The tour ends on January 31 with the last of three ODIs at Sydney Cricket Ground.