Middle-order woes have become more prominent with the passage of India in limited-overs cricket.
If anything that worries an Indian fan, it’s sure to be the middle order confusion in Indian batting order. India has the best top order with Dhawan, Rohit, and Kohli occupying the top 3 which looks invincible at the moment. Bowling of Indian team also looks well settled with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaspreet Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav making life hard for the opponents.
With the World Cup fast approaching, the middle order issue needs to be fixed as soon as possible. The middle order was highly exploited in the recently concluded Asia Cup. In the match against Afghanistan openers got a good start with middle order only needing to guide the team across the line, unfortunately, there weren’t any batsmen who looked comfortable at the crease. Gladly, Jadeja’s cameo tied the match. The final against Bangladesh yet again showcased the problem. The batsmen got the start but failed to convert those and couldn’t take it deep.
Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant are some of the many batsmen who look to seal the middle order spots. Although the form of veteran MS Dhoni is a case of worry for Indian think tank, his Wicketkeeping and mentor role to Kohli on the field makes him an automatic selection in the eleven. Having tried a variety of combination among these players, inconsistency seems to be one big problem. The batsmen haven’t been able to continue their form from one match to the next match.
When experienced players like Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik lack consistency, youngsters like Rishabh Pant who come into the team lack the much-needed experience in the pressure situations. While Kedar Jadhav has been delivering constantly either with the bat or ball, his injuries hasn’t allowed him to cement his place in the team. The other unseen problem is a lot of these middle order batsmen are originally openers in the domestic circle and couldn’t satisfy the needs of middle order batsmen.
As far as now, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Ravendra Jadeja are the frontrunners for the middle order spots. Dinesh Karthik who was patchy in the Asia Cup may lose his spot to Kedar Jadhav who provides an extra option in bowling. Hardik Pandya seems to have lost his lustre after his early rise in the international circle and Jadeja’s return to form is not so good news for Pandya.
Rishabh Pant may get a chance only as a backup keeper as he is yet to make a debut in ODI cricket. Although KL Rahul might suit well at no. 4, he is seen only as a backup opener and his spot in the eleven isn’t fixed yet.
Krunal Pandya who is doing well in domestic cricket can break into the National team but it seems to be a distant dream and Indian Management wouldn’t want to take any riskswith months away for the grand tournament. India is set to play Windies (Home), Australia and New Zealand (Away) before starting their world cup campaign. These series must settle the issue and pave for Kohli and co. to bring the trophy back home.