Although the Indian team was successful in defeating South Africa in their first ever ODI series on South African soil, there were many issues which were unveiled during the series. Even with brilliant players like Shikhar and Virat in the mix, it cannot be denied that India could have performed better in the last three matches. With Dhoni no longer the finisher and the uncoordinated rotation of Iyer, Manish, Jadhav, and Karthik, India needs to find at least 4-5 good fast bowlers before the onset of 2019 WC. Here, are a few problems that the Indian Contingent might want to tackle before the series:
Hardik Pandya’s Position On The Team
Hardik Pandya is the X factor of the Indian contingent being a batsman as well as a bowler. However, his position on the team is still unclear and as a future finisher, he needs to provide decent finishes rather than losing his wickets in weak shots. But if Kohli sees him as a third seamer, then Pandya needs to improve his bowling and give 7-8 decent overs to his team. Having scored 26 runs at an average of 8.67 and taken 3 wickets at 59 in the One Day series, it cannot be said that Pandya is still a novice especially after his exemplary performance in the 5th ODI. However, it may be long before he could join the league besides the greats like Ben Stokes and Shakib.
The Overworked Fast Bowlers
There is no doubt that Bumrah and Bhuvi are one of the best bowling pairs in the world. However, the Indian team needs to reduce its dependency on the indispensable duo and make use of the new talent at their disposal in form of Unadkat, Thakur, Shami, and Yadav. Fast bowlers have a tendency to suffer injuries and the excessive workload on Bumrah and Bhuvi could have serious implications on not just their health but also their game, as was evident in their bowling in the last two ODIs. India must provide the new bowlers more match time to be prepared for the oncoming World Cup series.
The Weak Middle Order
The most problematic issue with the Indian team at the moment is the weak middle order. Where India’s top order has scored 60% of the total runs since World Cup 2015, the constant changes in the middle order has deprived either of the batsmen to settle down with the team. With Dhoni and Pandya at Number 6 and 7, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedhar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik and Ajinkya Rahane all compete against each other to fill the spot number 4 and 5 on the team. The Indian Contingent must make a decision keeping in mind the need of the team, especially with the World Cup coming on or the opposition need only get to the top order to defeat the team.
With a lot of expectations from the team especially after World Cup 2015, the Indian team needs to tackle these issues to keep a dominant prowess in the field.