India is currently ranked second in the latest ODI rankings released by ICC. There is no doubt about the fact that India, under Virat Kohli, have dominated world cricket in the limited-overs format with sheer consistency and results. But, the Men in Blue also suffered an annihilating and rare whitewash in the 50-over format against New Zealand.
It was a result that raised several eyebrows as the majority of fans had not expected such results from a dominant Indian side. They expected more fight from their favourite team and also there were lots of questions raised regarding selections of many players in the squad.
The series defeat was a hard pill to swallow as some of the weaknesses of Team India came in the spotlight and one of them is the absence of an effective middle-order batsman in the team. India has been testing Kedar Jadhav in that position but the right-hander has failed to produce any breakthrough performances.
While the team management has backed Jadhav to plug the gap in India's middle-order, he has not justified his place in the team playing at that position. A sudden dip in his batting form had already brought him under the scanner in the past. He has struggled to compile runs with the bat for his national team.
In his last 10 innings, Jadhav has scored 204 runs at an average of 20.4 with only one fifty. His stats speak volumes about his woeful form and the Indian selectors should be looking for players who can replace Jadhav in the ODI team. There are many batsmen knocking on the doors and could be better options than Jadhav.
Here are the three players who could potentially replace Jadhav in the Indian ODI team:
#3 Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav, the 29-year-old batsman from Mumbai, is still waiting for his chance to play for Team India. He is one of those players from domestic cricket who has hogged the limelight on the back of his consistent performances with the bat.
In Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy 2019, he set the stage on fire with his amazing batting performances. He mustered 392 runs in 11 games at a strike rate of 168.96 with four half-centuries. Even the fans were quite hopeful that he might get his maiden call up for the ODI series against Australia or on the tour of New Zealand, but that did not happen.
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Now after Kedar Jadhav’s poor outing in New Zealand, it looks like selectors could pick Yadav soon in the ODI squad. He is a strong hitter of the ball and has all the traits to finish games for any team that he is representing. Moreover, he has proved his mantle in IPL playing for Mumbai in the last couple of seasons. Even Harbhajan Singh, the former Indian spinner, became a big fan of Suryakumar Yadav and requested the selectors to at least have a look at Yadav’s recent performances.
#2 Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana, the left-hander from Delhi is another player who can be looked at as a like-for-like replacement for Kedar Jadhav in the ODI squad. The 26-year-old was recently awarded the Lala Amarnath Award for the best all-rounder in domestic limited-overs by BCCI. He has been pretty consistent with the bat and can even bowl some spells for his team as a part-time bowler. Moreover, he is quite an impressive fielder– which is an indispensable quality to have for a modern-day player.
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019, he muscled 311 runs in 8 games one ton and as many fifties at an average of 51.83. He also ended up as the leading run-scorer for his team in that tournament. Later on, he headed towards Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019 in which he amassed 226 runs in 10 games with two amazing fifties. And, now in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, he is playing at his best for Delhi with his willow.
So far, Rana has plundered 501 runs in 8* games with two centuries and as many fifties. These stats are enough to show his consistency in back-to-back domestic tournaments. Moreover, he did convincingly well for Kolkata Knight Riders in the last two seasons that has certainly given him the confidence to break into the national side.
#1 Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya, the left-arm spin all-rounder has played for Team India in the shortest format. But, he is still due to make his debut in the 50-over format for the national side. He is one of the best all-rounders currently playing in the domestic circuit, and could also be a part of India's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
He has proved his worth in the shorter format in all the fewer chances that he has got so far with his brilliant spin bowling and batting. The 28-year-old is no less talented than his brother Hardik Pandya, who is regarded as the best all-rounder in India. He is a good turner of the ball and can score good runs with the bat and Krunal Pandya has proved it in the Indian Premier League while playing for Mumbai Indians. He also played a pivotal role in Mumbai’s title triumph in 2019 season.
The left-hander is equipped with all the skillsets that are required to play for the national team. And, this is the perfect time for the selectors to at least try him once in the 50-over format. Who knows what he might go on to become the next big Indian all-rounder for the Men in Blue, like his brother Hardik Pandya.