"Something they need to look at" - Wasim Jaffer raises concerns over the form of India's top-order big guns
Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer has suggested that while India have completed a 2-1 ODI series victory over England, there are still certain areas in which they would want to improve.
Pointing out the lackluster performance of the team's top-order, especially in the last two ODIs, Jaffer reminded how India look dangerous when their top-three fire collectively.
Big guns like Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli haven't been in great form lately. While Dhawan showed promise in the first game, he failed to make any significant contributions with the bat throughout the series.
Although Rohit Sharma scored a quickfire fifty in the first ODI, he couldn't keep up the momentum in the other two games.
However, he mentioned that the Men in Blue's skipper would be pleased to see other batters stepping up in such a situation in the all-important series decider.
Speaking on ESPNcricinfo, Jaffer explained:
"India have always played well when the top three have scored runs. But that didn't happen in the last two ODIs and that is something they need to look at. Virat Kohli is struggling at the moment and Shikhar Dhawan is looking rusty.
Rohit Sharma also hasn't been as consistent as we'd want him to be. But it would still make Sharma happy if the middle-order batters are playing this well."
While the Men in Blue secured a thumping 10-wicket victory in the 1st ODI against England, their batting unit let them down in the subsequent clash. The visitors were bundled out for 146 in the fixture and lost the contest by 100 runs.
The likes of Kohli, Rohit and Dhawan were dismissed cheaply in the crucial third ODI as well. However, Rishabh Pant (125*) and Hardik Pandya (71) sealed the series with a famous five-wicket win over the hosts.
"Cannot afford to have such a long tail going forward" - Wasim Jaffer wants India to have a bowling all-rounder at the No.8 position
Jaffer explained that Rohit Sharma and Co. must look to bring someone who can contribute with the bat at the No.8 position. He continued, stating that the side cannot play with such a long tail in white-ball cricket.
The former Indian opener named Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar as players who could be an ideal fit for the role. He reckoned that with Pandya performing well with the ball, the team could afford to have an extra bowling all-rounder in their starting XI.
"India need to look at the No.8 position in their batting order. They can bring in someone like Shardul Thakur or Deepak Chahar. They cannot afford to have such a long tail going forward, especially with the World Cup coming up. If Hardik Pandya bowls like this, it gives India an opportunity to play a bowling all-rounder."
It is worth mentioning that fast bowler Mohammad Shami batted at No.8 for the team during the recently concluded three-match ODI series against England. He did manage to impress with his valuable knock of 23 in the 2nd game. That being said, India will need to have a more skilled batter going forward to bolster their batting.
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