As the champions trophy came to a end, with it came many unanswered questions for every Indian cricketing fan. The defending champions put in a dismal performance in the final to say the least as eventual champions Pakistan were all over them. Apart from a blitz from Hardik Pandya and an economical spell from Bhuvineshwar Kumar nobody in the team really put their hand up when it mattered which lead to a crushing defeat. India have always been known for their batting might and rightly so having produced some truly exceptional batsmen along the way. One thing is for sure, the Team India middle order requires major surgery.
Champions Trophy 2017 wasn’t any different as Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli carried the team to the final backed by some good bowling and fielding along the way. One major concern was the middle order compromising of Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadav.
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Pakistan coach called them “India’s Underbelly” before the final and boy was he right. Each one of them fell under pressure when the team needed them the most. Granted Yuvraj Singh is a champion cricketer and has won India Trophies and matches alike but maybe its time to finally say goodbye.
Once known for being one of best Indian fielders in the dressing room, Yuvraj was glaringly sloppy and slow multiple times with rumours of Pakistan team even targeting him for that ‘quick single’. MS Dhoni’s finishing capabilities have been slowly diminishing for sometime however he still remains the worlds best wicketkeeper and brings a lot to the table with his invaluable advice. Kedar Jhadav is already 32 years old and again was the culprit for some mediocre fielding and batting. With the World Cup being held in England again in two years, India should use these two years to blood more middle order batsmen who can shoulder more responsibility should the top three fail on any given day.
For the 2019 World cup the top three pick themselves having consistently performed and the onus would be on them again once the big stage arrives. Four down is crucial slot in the batting order as lot of responsibility falls on this batsman. One has to build the innings if the top order crumbles or apply the finishing touches once the platform has been built and one batsman who can certainly do that is Manish Pandey. Unfortunately missing out on the champions trophy due to a last minute injury. Another option could be KL Rahul, the talented batsman has put in a number of crucial innings over the last year at the top.
Having every every stroke in the book if he can adjust to the middle order it would work out wonderfully well. MS Dhoni would come five down and continue to guide the team using all his experience. It would ensure the team have a balance of youth and experience. Another alternative could be Rishabh Pant. The explosive batsmen has shown glimpses of his ability during the IPL, however he would have to be consistent during this two year period. Robin Uthappa is another name the selectors should consider having piled number of runs in the domestic circuit as well as the IPL. Hardik Pandya showed the world what he’s capable of and will be a sure pick with the bowlers picking themselves as well.