Opinion: Sydney ODI proves that India's middle order needs Kedar Jadhav's firepower
A lot has been talked and written about India's middle-order issues. With a solid top order comprising arguably three of the best ODI players of the modern generation in Rohit Sharma Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, the Indian middle order looks pedestrian by any stretch of imagination or comparison.
India's middle order that played in the first ODI against Australia was in the shape of Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. Rayudu and Karthik are not known for their hitting prowess. Both these players take time to settle down at the crease and only then, they get the confidence to hit the ball.
MS Dhoni's hitting prowess has been on the wane since the last few years and his strike rate has come down drastically during these years. He is probably no longer expected to finish the games for India as often as he would.
Playing with three players who do not have the ability to hit from the word go makes India's middle order one-dimensional and makes the team vulnerable, especially while chasing big scores.
India did not play Kedar Jadhav during the first ODI which was baffling, more so when one looks at his record in the ODIs. He has a strike rate which is well in excess of 100 and during his short career so far, he has already won a few matches for India while chasing. What makes Jadhav a must for the Indian side is his ability to hit the ball from the outset.
Kedar Jadhav has played many cameos for India; he comes in and scores quick-fire 30s or 40s, either in setting up a score while batting first or while chasing. The 2018 Asia cup final was a perfect example of Jadhav's temperament when he took India across the finishing line in a tense chase against Bangladesh. Not to mention he is more than a handy part-time off-spinner.
Looking at the options available for India in the middle order, it is imperative to play Jadhav as he is the only player who provides the necessary firepower which a team needs in modern day one-day cricket.
Sydney ODI should be enough of a proof for the Indian think tank to go with Kedar Jadhav for the remaining two ODIs, otherwise the Indian team might find it difficult to get up and running in case of a top order failure.