World Cup 2019: 4 areas where India should improve
All the whites are packed and the blues have been taken out as the country starts warming itself to the momentous World Cup in June. Undoubtedly, India along with England start as hot favorites, which can be attributed in equal amounts to their consistent performances as well as to the fact that at least five out of other 9 teams are in a state of transition.
Indian cricket definitely ended on a high note in Australia, achieving their first-ever Test series win. Come this June, fans will be marching to the stadiums and will be glued to their TV sets with the expectation that 2019 will be no different. The much-awaited Test championship begins in July with India touring West Indies but the marquee event of the year will undoubtedly be the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The Men in Blue over the past few years have moved from strength to strength. Since the beginning of 2016, India has missed out on winning only two ODI events, once when they finished second to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final and the other being their recent loss in England.
India has a head start through the possession of the best top three in the world. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli can select themselves in any side in international cricket.
While Kohli struck 1,202 runs at a mammoth average of 133.5, Rohit Sharma amassed 1,030 runs in 19 innings. The only another batsman to score more than 1,000 runs in a year was England’s Jonny Bairstow. While Shikhar Dhawan may not have set the field on fire, his penchant for ICC events is very well-known.
The bowling department is led by Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep had a terrific 2018 with 45 wickets in ODIs at an average of 20.07 and an economy rate of 4.74. While few of the players have been outstanding, as we get closer to the main event, both the fans and the management are aware of the major loopholes.
We try to look at some of those key issues which India should look to address over the next 13 matches prior to the premier cricketing event.
#1 Missing firepower in the middle order
India’s recent success has overshadowed many of their glitches, the most important of them being the lack of finishing burst. Unless India’s top 3 bat through till the end, their final 10 overs' turn out to be a sad story. India might have some skilled batsman with rich experience in that lower middle order but they definitely lack a Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jos Butler or Jimmy Neesham.
While these batsmen might not guarantee you the consistency every single outing, they definitely hold the ace card in the batting conditions that we are likely to encounter in the UK.
Except for Hardik Pandya, India does not have a power hitter which makes the case to include Rishabh Pant even stronger. With the decline of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, India has struggled to find a batsman who can hit from ball one.
The prime example of the situation was recently seen against Hong Kong when all they could muster was 48 in their last 10 overs. Quality oppositions in the World Cup will have an eye on that and India should, in the next 13 matches, try to develop a couple of batsmen ready for such situations.