5 Challenges for Team India ahead of the ODI Series vs England
Team India is all set for the English Summer, as they look to extend their dominance in the 50-over format. This time, for a change, India would be donning the blue jersey before switching to red ball cricket.
The last time Team India traveled to England, they were riding high on confidence due to a Champions Trophy victory in the same turf in the previous year. India performed well at the Champions Trophy 2017 as well, reaching the finals.
The likes of KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav and Siddharth Kaul particularly had a breakthrough IPL year, and as a result, have made a cut in the national squad. These new entrants pose uphill tasks ahead of Captain Kohli before kicking off the limited overs matches. Addressing them, among others would be vital for the tour of Australia, and the all-important World Cup next year. Let's have a look at them:
#1 The Middle Muddle
This has been the most concerning area for Team India in the previous 36 months. India have played 11 batsmen at the No. 4 spot, but none of the players have been able to make it a spot of their own. Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Yuvraj Singh all have been tried and tested at this position. In fact, Pandey, Rahane and Yuvraj have not been able to make a cut in the ODI squad, while Rahul makes a comeback after being dropped from the squads against New Zealand and South Africa.
Only 2 players, Yuvraj Singh (150 vs England) and Manish Pandey (104 vs Australia) have managed to score hundreds at the No. 4 position since the 2015 World Cup. This time, the selectors have entrusted the middle order to the likes of KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina and Shreyas Iyer.
It would be a challenging task to find a reliable No.4 batsman and a strong middle order, which shall propel the team in the middle overs.