India’s one day cricket team – the middle order issue!


On the aspects of one day team selection, India has one of the strongest top three batsmen, with the talented Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal waiting in the wings. India’s bowling is perhaps the strongest in world cricket- be it in pace, swing or spin. The assembly line of reserves is also quite promising.


However, a team is as strong as it’s weak link. In times of duress, it gets easily exposed! That’s what happened to India during the World Cup semi-finals. What would you say about the selection committee, which has chopped and changed as many as 24 players in the middle order during the last 4 years?


The selection of the playing eleven has been equally whimsical! KL Rahul would be a confused man and this abundant talent may eventually find his way out of the team.  Please let him settle down in one batting position and give him a longer rope if you believe in the adage – form is temporary and class is permanent! In the game against New Zealand, I could not fathom as to why Dinesh Karthik was sent in to bat ahead of MS Dhoni. Karthik’s claim to fame is only as a lower order, late stage, meditative, out-of-the-box, hitter. He has hardly succeeded when there has been surfeit of overs to play. The situation was tailor made for Dhoni to stabilise and provide the calming effect at that particular point of time instead of expecting Dinesh Karthik to play the uncharacteristic role!


Why was Ambati Rayudu unceremoniously dropped? He was hailed as the middle order batsman by none other than Virat Kohli! Just a failure of a series against Australia at home? Why wasn’t Ajinkya Rahane or a Cheteshwar Pujara looked at for the 15-member squad, knowing fully well about the likely overcast conditions in England.  Tactical angle of horses for courses!!!


Rishabh Pant was sent in as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan.  He was then selected in the playing eleven ahead of Dinesh Karthik.  Then why was Dinesh Karthik selected ahead of Pant in the first place?


Who all should now be in the middle order batting position for the long-term stability of the team? Domestic performances apart, it should be on the basis of class and pedigree. Once you have reposed your faith on these two epithets, then please give the player a long rope i.e. 6 to 7 games consecutively to let the guy play freely, without the fear of immediate elimination. Shubman Gill is one such player, whose batting style has semblance to that of Kohli’s. Bring him now! Else, another player who comes to mind is Shreyas Iyer. What more does he need to do other than consistently score runs at fast clip? As I write, I am happy to see Shreyas score so well in the last two one day outings against the Windies. Hope he is made to feel settled.


High quality players are there. When class and pedigree are spotted, give them the comfort of an extended run. Let’s not have the selection committee and the on-field playing eleven selectors’, play musical chairs with players. When Saurabh Ganguly or an Imran Khan spotted talent, they backed them long. Yuvraj Singh and Inzamul Haque came up that way, very young!  


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Sandeep Sinha is an avid sports follower with very keen interest in Cricket, Tennis and Badminton. Professional commitments have kept him pre-occupied with other things in life. Now he is looking forward to contributing more to sports, which according to him is “so dear to his life”.


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