The BCCI selection committee on Sunday retained the under-fire Ishant Sharma as an unchanged India squad was named for the remaining four one-day internationals against Australia.
It was heavily speculated that Ishant will be dropped after his performance in the last three ODIs and the one-off T20, including his horror show in the Mohali game where he was smashed for 30 runs in the 48th over by James Faulkner, costing India a defeat when a win was on the cards for the hosts.
But despite the defeat in two of the three ODIs, India's captain MS Dhoni made it very clear that any player cannot be dropped just on the basis of performances in one-two matches. "It will be unfair that all of a sudden when you lose one or two matches and you want a playing-eleven bowler to be removed and thrown out of the team by saying he is not good," Dhoni said after India's four-wicket loss on Saturday.
The Indian selectors preferred to retain the same squad for the remaining four ODIs in the seven-match series, which Australia lead 2-1.
"It's very important to persist with them, to give them experience because they are the part of the side. They are the most talented people and let's back them," he added.
The 48th over of the third ODI at Mohali turned out to be a 'horror story' for Ishant as he was pummelled for 30 runs (four sixes and a four) by Faulkner when India needed to defend 44 runs in the last three overs.
Dhoni entrusted the job to Ishant , but the lanky pacer paid the price for bowling either short or length deliveries to Faulkner who took full advantage of it, smacking him for huge sixes.
Even before Saturday's outing, in which he went for 63 runs in his eight overs, Ishant's performance had been below-par. He leaked 52, 56 and 70 in the one-off T20 and the first two ODIs respectively.
But having been retained in the side doesn't mean Ishant will be included in the playing eleven for the fourth ODI in Ranchi. India have the option of replacing him with either Jaydev Unadkat or Mohammed Shami.
As expected, selectors didn't go for any change in team's batting, with the batsmen doing well on pitches offering lots of runs.
Team for last 4 ODIs: MS Dhoni (Capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat
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