New Delhi: India are 0-2 down in the five-match ODI series and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has many decisions to make as his side are in a much-win situation in the 3rd ODI against Australia to be played at the MCG on Sunday.
The big decision for Dhoni is to consider that whether he sticks with a struggling Shikhar Dhawan at the top? The left-handed batsman has been struggling to find any sheen in ODIs as it was evident in the series loss against South Africa too where he faltered.
Dhawan has scores of nine and six respectively in the first two ODIs and has had a complete opposite story to that of opening partner Rohit Sharma who has struck two successive tons. India cannot be giving chances after chances to the southpaw given that there are players on the bench who are eager to get out and perform.
So what are Dhoni's options? Manish Pandey can be tried alongside Rohit for the opening slot and also there is Ajinkya Rahane who struck a well made 89 in Brisbane. Rahane can open too and could be an able partner for Rohit at the top.
India have struggled with their bowling and the finishing by batsmen towards the latter part of innings have hurt them too. If Dhoni decides to shift Pandey or Rahane at the top, then a slot opens up and youngster Rishi Dhawan can come in given his ability as a pacer who can bat too.
If Rishi is included then Indian can have the luxury of four pacers alongside the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. If one bowler has an off day, then Dhoni can fall back to Rishi who could be a good addition in the side.
Shikhar has been trusted of late and the management have stuck with him but it is time for the skipper to think out of the box and try his bench strength.
The skipper himself would also be eager to get back to form and make the difference in the side with only Rohit, Virat Kohli and Rahane amongst the runs against the Aussies.
India's possible XI if Shikhar is dropped.
Manish Pandey, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin. R Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Barinder Sran