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3 Answers to India’s ODI Middle Order puzzle

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
1.67K   //    24 Aug 2018, 21:16 IST

India v Sri Lanka - 2011 ICC World Cup Final
India would want to repeat their 2011 heroics

On 30th May 2019, the whole world will have its eyes trained on the curtain-raiser of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Australia would arrive on their arch-rivals’ territory as defending champions, hoping to claim an unprecedented sixth World Cup.

On the other hand, teams like England, South Africa and New Zealand would hope to end their World Cup hoodoo and join an elite list of World Cup winners. However, the majority of the focus would revolve around how India performs on the biggest stage. The Indian team would hope it can serve up memories of 2011, rather than 2007.

The Indian team has a firm blueprint in place and only needs a bit of fine-tuning. The top three is one of the most destructive in the world while Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar provide the bowling line-up with steel. In addition to this, India enjoys the guile of their wrist spinners.

However, all is not rosy for the Indian team. It still has a few unanswered questions with the biggest being the composition of their middle order. Even in the recently concluded series against England, India found themselves in trouble when the top three couldn’t bat deep into the innings. A host of names have been tried but none have been able to make the middle-order spot their own.

For a World Cup winning machine, one needs each component to be tried and tested in the most adverse conditions. With time at a premium, the Indian team needs to act swiftly and come up with a winning formula for the World Cup.

Through the course of this article, we would look at three players who could go a long way in solving the middle order conundrum for India. Here is a look at them:


#1 Rishabh Pant

England Lions v India A - Day Three
Pant would hope for his chance in the ODI arena

The swashbuckling left-hander from Delhi looks ready to make the step-up into international cricket. Having recently made his test debut, the youngster is on an upward curve and shows no sign of letting up.

Pant has taken the domestic circuit by storm and had a sensational 2018 IPL. He flew to England as part of the India A squad and gave a good account of himself, playing a match-winning knock in the tri-series final.

The left-hander is a student of the ‘Sehwag school of cricket’ and doesn’t mind playing his shots.

He couples his power game with deft sweeps and reverse-sweeps. With his inclusion in the Indian team, India would have the option of a left-hander in a team predominantly consisting of right-handers.

He has the ability to ‘take off’ right from the outset and would help India set the tempo in the middle overs.

His presence would also aid MS Dhoni, who would be allowed the time to play himself in, without having to worry about the scoring rate. The present and future of Indian wicket-keeping firing together would be an exciting prospect. 

At the moment, Pant is in the form of his life. The Indian think-tank should give him his due in the ODI landscape and let him enthral one and all with his belligerent brand of batting.

If Pant is able to find his feet in the ODI arena, he could lead India a step closer to their 3rd World Cup triumph. 

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