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India need to plug loopholes in the second match


DhoniNew Delhi: Still licking their wounds after a sound thrashing in the lung opener, India will have to regroup quickly and plug the loopholes when they take on a determined West Indies in the second cricket one-dayer here tomorrow.

Starting the series as overwhelming favourites, India’s inept batting in the first match led to a crushing 124-run defeat against a side, which was threatening to pull-out of the series due to a payment dispute with their parent body and cricketer’s union.

The Caribbean players did a commendable job, leaving behind distractions and disappointment of not having atleast their top two players – Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine – in the side.

If Gayle was recovering from a hamstring injury then off-spinner Narine, who had to miss the Champions League T20 final for Kolkata Knight Riders because of being called twice for chucking, was withdrawn from the series to work on his action.

India though will hope to draw level at Feroz Shah Kotla, where pitches have improved off late and a keen contest is on the cards.

However with India’s World Cup preparations starting with this series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be looking to set his combination in order before the team travels Down Under in six weeks time.

The batting slots are more or less fixed even though the side was shot out for a paltry 197 on a belter of a track at Kochi.

The biggest concern is Virat Kohli’s prolonged lean patch since the tour of England. Even former skipper Sunil Gavaskar has spoken openly about Kohli’s technical flaws but opined that the talented batsman should be dropped down the order to make him get back to his run-making ways.

India’s fortunes in this series and their title defence in the upcoming 50-over showpiece event depends a lot on Kohli’s form.


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