What issues do India need to fix before World Cup?
The next two months will be crucial for cricketing nations as they gear up for the ICC World Cup 2019, starting May 30 onwards in England and Wales. India are one of the favorites, this time around, to win the coveted title. But the Virat Kohli-led side has some issues to fix. Here we analyze what India need to do before the World Cup.
India have some interesting set of players to select from, but certain places in the squad still look unsettled. The basic core of the side looks sorted, but the overall XI could need some tweaks. India have another 11 ODIs before the World Cup to get the squad right. Expect the team to try out various combinations to understand their 15-member squad.
Ambati Rayudu has been backed as the number four batsman. But recent outings against Australia present a worrisome scenario. He has runs in the sub-continent, but he needs to fire outside Asia. The series decider against Australia and the five-match series in New Zealand will test his mettle. A failure in the upcoming matches could put him and India into a spot of bother.
MS Dhoni has hit two successive fifties in the ongoing series against Australia. The more time he spends on the pitch, the better for the player. Dhoni has the attributes to anchor the side. He has shown flashes of brilliance. But India need more than that. The number six and seven positions are therefore crucial. Can Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya add the consistency?
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are two genuine pace options and will be expected to bring in the stability. Both are superb upfront and at the death as well. But what about the third pacer? Mohammed Shami has looked decent against Australia. He thrived in the 2015 World Cup and has the experience. So perhaps Shami gets the nod. He also has wicket-taking abilities.
India need to have a solid bench strength. Going by what we have seen recently, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Khaleel Ahmed could be viable options on the bench. One between Ravindra Jadeja or Hardik Pandya will seal a spot. The squad looks decent, but is Khaleel ready for such a big responsibility? He has the potential and promise to shine though.
India could try out the potential 15 members in the home series against Australia in February. Summarizing everything, the main issue is the middle order. If the side sticks with DK and Jadhav, then hopefuls Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul will miss out. Both haven't played many ODIs either. If Rayudu fails, then there is a problem. India cannot afford too many positional changes.