CWC 2019: 3 Areas The Indian Cricket Team Still Needs To Address
For India, the Cricket World cup has gotten off to just the start they would have fathomed. Walking all over South Africa and Australia in their opening encounters, the side is the only country alongside New Zealand to keep their 100% winning record intact at the tournament.
While the Indian team has been exemplary against the other two cricketing countries, putting in complete and well-rounded displays, the side still has a few issues that need ironing out. In a showpiece tournament, the margins for error are next to none, and the Indian contingent will be well aware that they can’t afford to slip up if they are to go all the distance.
Ahead of their impending encounter against a stupendous New Zealand unit, we take a look at the three areas India will be looking to iron out to emulate the same rousing showings from the previous two clashes.
Fifth Bowling Option
Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya have bowled 21 overs in between them in the two matches India have played. They have conceded 129 runs and haven't picked any wickets. These are figures which point to a glaring weakness that is still prevalent in the Indian line-up and takes preference amongst all the remaining areas of contention.
It was against Australia that Kedar and Hardik were exposed, and so was captain Virat Kohli's faith in them. Hardik was brought on at a time when David Warner and Aaron Finch were struggling to connect with the ball, miscuing it on several occasions to see the run-rate keep increasing with each passing over. However, Hardik was soon dispatched for 19 runs, allowing Australia's openers to open their arms and garner the much-needed confidence to play their shots.
Kohli subsequently took Pandya off and eyed Jadhav to fill in his overs, but with Smith taking a particular liking to the uninspired brand of spin from Jadhav, cleaning him out for the 14 runs, that gameplan was soon dropped by India as well.
It's a lapse which India needs to address quickly. With Kuldeep yet to function at his tangible best, the need for a fifth bowler to come on and pick up wickets at regular intervals becomes a vital proposition for the side.
Ravindra Jadeja’s Selection
With Jadhav being demoted and pushed back in the batting order in the opening two matches, a slew of questions have arisen on Jadhav’s current role in the side. His batting position at the moment shows that the team management doesn’t accord much faith in him as a finisher or as someone who can come in and hit a few heavy blows.
With him being average at best with the ball as well, the clamour for Jadeja’s inclusion has once again increased. He’s a way more dependable pick than Jadhav, more than adept of playing out a flourishing cameo. Jadeja addresses the fifth bowling option with his restrictive wicket to wicket bowling. He invariably comes up with crucial wickets by getting the ball to skid onto batsman at a faster trajectory and also brings to the table the best fielding skills of any Indian player.
Maintaining The Pressure In The Middle Overs
Although there’s hardly any questioning how resolute India have been with the ball, picking up 19 wickets against South Africa and Australia, the middle overs are areas where they’ve allowed sides to break free.
After the initial ten overs from Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar, Kuldeep and Pandya have been guilty of spraying the ball all over the surface, undoing the foundation laid by India’s frontline pacers.
They allowed South Africa to escape from a precarious position of 158-7 to notch on 227 on the board with a 66 run stand for the eighth wicket. The same narrative continued against Australia, where Alex Carey was allowed to score a half-century lower down the middle-order, taking Australia to 316 from 244-6.
After chopping and changing too much in the opening ODI, Kohli was quick to rectify his mistakes and save up Bumrah’s over for the middle part of the overs. It was a wise move from the captain, one which never allowed Australia to have any sniff of getting near the run chase. However, against batting sides like England and West Indies who are packed with clean, power hitters, India know they can’t allow their batsmen to settle into their groove in overs 20-40.
Also read - World cup winners list