5 areas of concern for India heading into 2019 World Cup
In the world of cricket, India is indeed one of the best and talking about the 2019 Cricket World Cup, many would feel that they are the favourites. They are currently Number 2 in ICC ODI team ranking and are raging towards the best. The Men in Blue have been putting up great performances since the 2015 World Cup and have won 6 out of 7 bilateral series since the 2017 Champions Trophy loss itself. Recently, India outpowered every other team in the 2018 Asia Cup and exhibited to the world why they are the favourites for the World Cup.
Everything seems to be perfect for the Blue Squad but if we take a closer look, this is not how the things actually are. If we look at their performance in last two ODIs they played, they were struggling – one match in a tie and they managed to win the other off the last delivery and the reason was the failure of middle-order. In both the matches the Indian top-order collapsed early, putting the pressure on middle-order which they could not handle well.
This is one of the issues that rings the alarm for the Asian Champions -- there are many more things for India to work on before the 2019 World Cup. Let's look at the reasons why India needs to worry about the 2019 CWC:
#1 Overdependency on top-order
Indian top-order batsmen have been in tremendous form since the 2015 World Cup. The ICC ODI batsmen ranking proves the same as Indian top-order claim 3 of the top 5 positions. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are at no. 2 and 5 respectively while Captain Virat sits at the top. More than 60% runs are contributed by the top-order trio since the 2015 World Cup. This shows how dependent the team is on top-order.
Here is the individual performance of Indian top-order since 2015 World Cup:
#2 Flimsy middle-order
In the past few years, India have been searching for the perfect no. 4 and 5. Now that only a few months are left for the 2019 World Cup, the middle-order of the Indian team is still not fixed. The number of players tried at no.4 and 5 are a plenty – Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and many more – but no one has proved that he is the right one for the spot as there has been no consistency in the performance. The most recent failure of the middle-order was in the 2018 Asia Cup. In the last two matches where the top-order collapsed early, Indian middle-order got exposed to the pressure which it failed to handle.
It is a big concern for the Men in Blue as they get prepared for the 2019 World Cup which will be starting in June next year. What's good for team India is that, before the World Cup, they will be playing two away bilateral series – one against Australia and the other with New Zealand. It will be their last chance to find the perfect and consistent two for the no. 4 and 5 positions.