India are having a great run in World Cup 2019, with their unbeaten streak running to five matches. The Men in Blue are comfortably placed at the third position in the points table and seem all but confirmed of a berth in the semifinals.
Though India have ticked all the boxes so far, there is one concern which needs to addressed in order to ensure better preparedness for the crucial encounters ahead.
After recording thumping wins against strong sides South Africa and Australia in their first two games, India faced a rude shock in the form of a thumb injury to in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan. The southpaw, who has been a vital cog in multinational tournaments, was ruled out of the tournament a couple of games later.
This led to the promotion of KL Rahul to the top of the order, and the inclusion of all-rounder Vijay Shankar in the middle order.
The return of the No. 4 conundrum
India had been facing a middle order problem, particularly for the No. 4 spot, ever since the 2015 World Cup. More than 10 players had been tried in the place, but no one could make it his own.
The intent shown by Rahul in the warm-up game against Bangladesh came as a welcome relief for the team. However, Dhawan's ouster forced him to open the innings with Rohit Sharma instead.
Thus, the No. 4 conundrum has resurfaced for India. Shankar doesn't have too much experience of playing in England, which was evident in the games against Pakistan and Afghanistan. While he could barely get bat on ball against the arch-rivals, he was dismissed after getting set in a low-scoring affair against Afghanistan. Further, he is not used as a regular bowler by captain Virat Kohli.
The change that should be made
It would be prudent for India to include Dinesh Karthik in the playing XI against the West Indies. Karthik has been around for a while and has good experience of English conditions. Further, he can adapt to any situation really well, and is capable of rotating the strike as well as playing the big shots.
Karthik has carved a niche for himself as a finisher in the past 18 months, with his performance in the Nidahas Trophy being the standout.
The shuffle in the batting order
With the addition of Karthik into the squad, it would be apt to send in MS Dhoni at No. 4, so that he gets the time to settle in and unleash himself in the death overs. With a tremendous amount of of experience at his disposal, Dhoni can certainly play the anchor for India.
He should be followed by Kedar Jadhav at No. 5, who. Karthik and Hardik Pandya can then impart the finishing touches to the Indian innings, with their ability to whack the ball right from the word go being utilized to the fullest.
Also read - Highest team total in world cupPublished 25 Jun 2019, 22:49 IST