With the series sealed, it might be time to give some more of those uncapped players an opportunity, as India play Zimbabwe in the third and final one-day international of the three match series. With MS Dhoni's men winning both of the first two games, India will target a series whitewash, but while making a couple of changes to the team as well.
India have, so far, gone in with five batsmen, Dhoni and five bowlers, with Axar Patel, seen more as a bowler in this series. And that has worked quite well for them, with all five of the bowlers – Barinder Sran, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar – doing really well.
In the first match, Zimbabwe were skittled for a total below 170, while the second one-dayer saw India put up an even better bowling performance, which had the hosts dismissed for 126.
The flipside of that good bowling performance from India has been that only three batsmen have got any time out in the middle. In the first ODI, KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu put on 162 runs together for the second wicket, while chasing 169, after Karun Nair got out early, as India won by nine wickets. In the second match, Rahul and Nair put on a solid partnership, before Rayudu and the latter stayed together right near the end. All Manish Pandey, who came in at No.4, got to do was hit the winning runs.
Considering that, it is unlikely that any of the batsmen from No.4 and below will be changed, but with two others in Mandeep Singh and Faiz Fazal yet to get a game so far, there is a case to rest Rahul and Rayudu, the two who have batted the most by far, for this 3rd ODI in Harare on Wednesday.
Neither Mandeep, 24, not Fazal, 30, have played a game for India before, so if they were to be selected, it would be another couple of debuts.
From the bowling, Jaydev Unadkat, Rishi Dhawan, also clubbed in the all-rounder category, and Jayant Yadav are yet to feature in an India shirt in this series. Unadkat could come in for Jasprit Bumrah, considering the importance of the latter for the team in the future, while Dhawan might hope to get a callup for one of Sran and Kulkarni.
Chahal was the match-winner for India in the 2nd ODI, so it makes sense to keep him in the team, which means Axar sitting out, if Dhoni feels he needs to give Yadav a chance.
Whatever India do, they look on course for a series sweep, and it will be interesting to see what Dhoni does, if he wins the toss again. The last two times, the India skipper has chosen to bowl first, understandable, with the early movement available to the bowlers.
However, to test this batting lineup, it might not be a bad idea for India to bat first, if Dhoni calls right again.
If Graeme Cremer wins the toss, Zimbabwe will, undoubtedly, ask India to bat first. Cremer also has to deal with injury problems to his squad. Craig Ervine missed the 2nd ODI with an injury only for his replacement – Sean Williams – to injure his finger and not feature in any part of the match.
Confirmed playing XI: India: KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran.
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Timycen Maruma, Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Richmond Mutumbami, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Donald Tiripano, Tawanda Mupariwa.