WELLINGTON, February 2: Pushed out of their comfort zone by some incisive swing bowling in challenging conditions, a jolted India will gain confidence from Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s return as they aim to finish the five-match series against New Zealand on a high.
India’s most experienced ODI player was out with hamstring injury during last two matches and his return couldn’t have been timed better after their inexplicable collapse for 92 in Hamilton.
A 4-1 margin will look much better than 3-2 but it will be easier said than done at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
The windy conditions could just be the shot that Trent Boult would need as he again marks his run-up.
And that’s where Dhoni’s presence will be a factor in that middle order which still isn’t rock solid if skipper Virat Kohli isn’t around.
Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar confirmed that Dhoni is fit and available for the game.
Dhoni’s calmness in anchoring the innings will be priceless and young Shubman Gill might make the way in the playing XI as the World Cup preparations hit full swing.
The Hamilton match was an eye opener where Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik failed to prove a point that they can stand up and be counted if Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan fail on a given day with Kohli also not around.
With the three-match T20I series ahead and also the World Cup round the corner, India will have to address this weakness to ensure that their much-vaunted batting doesn’t crumble on an odd day when the condition aids swing bowling in England. (PTI)