The last thing a team on song requires deep into a tournament is a forced change of its combination. Thanks to injuries to a key player each, India and West Indies will be compelled to make at least one change to their line-ups for Thursday’s semifinal.
The Caribbeans are fairly well-placed in that respect, with Lendl Simmons set to walk in place of the injured Andre Fletcher, thus not hampering the batting line-up or the team balance much. India, on the other hand, have plenty to ponder when it comes to selecting the replacement for Yuvraj Singh, who injured his ankle during India’s virtual quarterfinal against Australia.
No doubt India has two able replacements ready in > Ajinkya Rahane , who has been warming the bench throughout the tournament, and > Manish Pandey , who was formally inducted into the squad as Yuvraj’s replacement on Wednesday. But the Indian team management could well be in a quandary when it comes to replacing Yuvraj, the bowler.
“It will have an impact because he’s had his moments. I thought his three overs were brilliant in the last game. That really put the brakes on the scoring and allowed us to come back into the game,” team director Ravi Shastri said on Wednesday.
“After the first four overs it was a no-contest, because at one stage it looked like 200-plus which would have been very difficult to chase on that surface. So he will be missed. Unfortunately it’s an injury that happened during the game. Looking to take off, he did his ankle in and I believe it’s a minor tear in the ankle.”
Neither Rahane nor Pandey can roll their arm over at the highest level. That could well bring in Pawan Negi, the left-armer who is reputed for his lusty blows lower down the order. However, going by the indications at India’s training session at the Wankhede on Saturday, the host could well opt for a like-for-like replacement in Pandey lower down the order.
If Rahane has to be included, it would mean Suresh Raina will have to be pushed lower down the order. Instead, Pandey’s prowess with big-hitting from the word go would make it easier for him to be included in order to retain the balance.
“We’ve not decided because Manish has just joined the party yesterday. We’ll take a good look at everything in the nets and see what our best options will be for tomorrow’s game. We’ll have to keep those overs in mind,” Shastri said.
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