Fans are not pleased after Kohli and Shastri mess up team selection yet again!
The Indian cricket team went into the sixth and final ODI against South Africa on Friday with only one thing in mind - a 5-1 scoreline.
The Men In blue secured the six-match series with a 4-1 scoreline after their win in the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth. Captain Virat Kohli, though, stated emphatically that his team was going to be relentless in the final match.
While it's a healthy practice to treat every game like the final of an ICC World Cup and go in with your best possible XI, Team India once again baffled fans with their team selection for the sixth ODI in centurion.
Medium-pacer Shardul Thakur replacing an overworked Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only change the visitors made. This meant, the likes of Axar Patel and Manish Pandey went through the entire series without getting a look.
While Axar's exclusion on Friday was understandable, considering the fact that wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been in irresistible form in the series, it was baffling to not see Pandey get a game.
India's middle order is anything but settled and it made sense for the talented right-hander to get some game-time in a dead rubber. Shreyas Iyer has hardly impressed in the three matches he's played, now was the time for Pandey to get a chance.
Twitterati, too, was perplexed by Pandey's exclusion, blaming Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri for messing up yet again. After some perplexing selection calls in the Test series, fans seem to be losing faith in the Indian team management.
Still no Shami.— Pa₹idhi $₹ivastava (@BeingKohlicious) February 16, 2018
Still playing Dhoni.
Still no Manish Pandey.
Still playing Rahane.
Still no Karthik.
Still playing Iyer.
Still no this.
Still playing that.
Still no falana.
Still playing Dhimkana.#IndianCricketFans
Really Feeling Sad For Manish Pandey And Dinesh Karthik Who Were Given their 100% for team when they were Got opportunity but player Like Pandya And dhoni Still In Playing xi after every match Failure— Akshay (@Akkiontop) February 16, 2018
I don't understand after when we won the series still no chance to Manish pandey and dinesh karthik.— rishav mishra (@iamRishavm31) February 16, 2018
Poor Manish Pandey might be wondering what he must do to displace Rahane from the ODI XI.— Gully Cricketer (@streetcricketr) February 16, 2018
why no dinesh karthik & manish pandey? Have they come here to just sit? Already won the series.All the six guys those were there should have been given https://t.co/D4qOU8Uqtc cannot bench good players.All deserve to play.This is disappointing and poor thinking.Oppurtunity wasted— ravi singh (@ravisin75604296) February 16, 2018
Why wouldn't you play Manish Pandey though? You are not trying to make Iyer a finisher, right? So who is your no. 6? Dhoni? Still? #SAvIND— Abhishek (@Sajjanlaunda) February 16, 2018
Dear @imVkohli,— M. Sarosh Ebrahim (@msarosh) February 10, 2018
Give 10 straight innings at no.4 to Manish Pandey and he will solve your no.4 spot dilemma. and dont listen to Ravi Shastri.
Your sincere fan.
Still the inconsistent Rahane , Iyer & Pandya in the playing X1 , y the hell Manish Pandey not getting chances , he scored a 100 in Aussies ffs #SAvsIND— Yash (@YashR06) February 16, 2018
Manish Pandey deserved a chance. At least 1.— IndiZard (@indizard) February 16, 2018
Manish pandey deserve a chance instead of shreyas. Unfair to him. Good fielder as well. #SAvIND— aNUP mAHAPAtRA (@am_i_anup) February 16, 2018
India won the toss and opted to bat first in the dead-rubber sixth and final ODI of the six-match series against South Africa in Centurion on Friday.
After winning the toss, Indian skipper Kohli said, "As a batting unit, we want to embrace the pressure of chasing. We want to get used to the mindset and get out of the comfort zone and want the bowlers to get used to a situation they might encounter in a crunch game."
Proteas stand-in skipper Aiden Markram, on the other hand, said that Supersport Park pitch is always a good one to bat on and, therefore, they are looking forward to put out the perfect game.
As far as playing XI is concerned, India made just one change in the squad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rested and Shardul Thakur has been called in his place. Meanwhile, the home side went in with four changes. Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, Khaya Zondo and Farhaan Behardien returned to the side.
An upbeat India, who had earlier scripted a history in South Africa with an unprecedented series win following a 73-run win in the fourth ODI, are currently boosting with confidence and looking to end the series with a 5-1 win heading into the match. Meanwhile, South Africa would play for pride and would aim to end the ODI series on a winning note.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram(captain), AB de Villiers, Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Lungisani Ngidi.
(Inputs from ANI)