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Focus on Hardik inclusion as India look to seal series

Focus on Hardik inclusion as India look to seal series
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Highlights

A welldeserved break on the cards, India captain Virat Kohli will be aiming to seal the fivematch series when his team square off against a confused New Zealand in the third ODI here Monday

Mount Maunganui (New Zealand): A well-deserved break on the cards, India captain Virat Kohli will be aiming to seal the five-match series when his team square off against a confused New Zealand in the third ODI here Monday.

The Indian captain has been given a break as part of BCCI's workload management programme and he would ensure that he finishes his assignment Down Under on a high after the maiden Test and ODI victories in Australia.

An unassailable 3-0 lead would be a fitting revenge to India's abject 0-4 humiliation during the 2014 limited overs series.

One of the primary focus of Monday's encounter could be inclusion of Indian cricket's latest enfant terrible Hardik Pandya, who is coming back from provisional suspension for his loose talk on a TV chat show.

Pandya's presence lends solidity and balance to the side and the skipper has time and again admitted it.

The Baroda all rounder's replacement Vijay Shankar is a decent cricketer but is yet to possess the X factor that Pandya has. That Shankar was given only two overs in the second ODI is an example that he is still not ready to shoulder extra responsibility.

Pandya is a few clicks quicker than Shankar whose bowling in the three ODIs that he has played has not been penetrative. Pandya can also bat at No 6 if situation arises and his busy approach in batting can also get the scoreboard ticking in middle overs as the skipper wants.

Otherwise Indian team doesn't require much tinkering. New Zealand, on the other hand, have looked clueless against India's wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who accounted for 12 of the 20 wickets in the last two ODIs.

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