With the ICC World Cup 2019 just three and a half months away, teams have started prepping their squads in full swing. While some teams still have areas of concern, others are fairly settled, sans the odd questions that crop up when a team underperforms in a match. 


The Indian Team too look mighty strong on paper and is one of the favorites to win the World Cup 2019 but will need to sort out problem areas before the biennial event gets underway.

The inconsistent middle order

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – The Indian Express

The Indian Cricket Team has been buoyed by a top-heavy batting unit, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan rising to the occasion more often than not. However, the concerns arise once the trio is back in the pavilion, with India’s middle-order looking unsettled and inconsistent.

Nine cricketers have been tried at the number 4 spot since January 2018, with Ambati Rayudu playing the maximum games in that position – 6. However, with a high score of only 40 and with his issues against pace no secret, the unstable number 4 can often undo all the good work that the top sets.

India’s numbers 5 to 7 have fared no better, with as many as 12 cricketers being given a go in the middle order in the last 13 months. The players in these spots have managed to score runs at only a strike-rate of 81.47, which is in contrast to the strike-rate of 94.80 that the top three batters have batted within this interim. Hence, once the top-order has been dismissed, the job of the bowlers is relatively easy, and with MS Dhoni no longer in ominous form, the struggles in the death overs while batting seems to have no immediate answer.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

The absence of a potent third seamer

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – India TV

The performance of the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has managed to take the limelight away from the under-performance of the quicks in the ODI set-up. With no seamer except for Jasprit Bumrah putting his hand up, India remains crippled without a genuine quick who can create troubles up front.

Bumrah has managed to take the most wickets since January in 2019 – 22 wickets in 13 games – while the next best bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked up 26 wickets but in 22 matches. The inability of the swing bowler to maintain his line and length match-after-match too remains a worry, and with Mohammad Shami and Khaleel Ahmed going for runs too, the problem is only highlighted further.

The former had been unable to step up till the series in New Zealand, while the latter has hardly done anything noteworthy in his short international career. With Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul not in the fray, it is likely that Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shaami, and Khaleel will board the flight to England. However, they will have to raise their game, just like the bowling department had done in the World Cup in Australia four years ago.

The lack of a back-up bowler

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – Bcci

Team India have finally found a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya, who did reasonably well in the ODIs against New Zealand. However, he is prone to inconsistency and can be dreadfully wayward on his day. This is where India will need a sixth-bowling option. Kedar Jadhav has been donning the role for a while now, but with the tracks in England hardly assisting spinners, and with Jadhav being viewed as a ‘lucky bowler who somehow gets wickets’, it will be foolish to count on him match-after-match.

So who does Team India rely on in this case? With none of the top-order batters bowling – Rohit and Kohli no longer pitch in with the cherry – the responsibility will be on the fifth and sixth bowlers to be consistent and disciplined.

9 COMMENTS

  1. […] After winning the first two ODIs against Australia, India lost in the third game at Ranchi. There are two more games left and as the World Cup is around the corner, India will give the chance to Rishabh Pant as well in place of MS Dhoni who has been in the radar for quite some time. “There will certainly be some changes (in the team XI) because Mahi (MS Dhoni) is not going to play the final two matches. He is taking rest,” Bangar said. “Also, Shami got hurt today in his leg so we will need to check whether he can be fit for day after (Mohali ODI). If he does not get fit then Bhuvneshwar Kumar could come in,” addes Sanjay Bangar However, there is a chance of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to come in place of Mohammed Shami; who got hurt in his shin by a straight drive and was forced to left the field for some time. However, he returned to the field to finish his spell. “Shami also had a hit on the leg. We have to see whether he’ll be fit for the game. If he’s not fit then Bhuvneshwar Kumar will play. Those decisions the captain and coach take it before the game,” said Sanjay Bangar.  Meanwhile, Virat Kohli too said in the post-match presentation that India will change a couple of players in the playing XI for the next two matches. “We will have a few changes in the next couple of games. We have to figure out what those changes are. But the idea is to go out there and win matches and take a lot of pride in winning games for the country. That mindset will not change. We will have a few new faces and they will have to make the most of their chances because there is a World Cup coming and everyone wants to be on that flight,” said Kohli after the third ODI. Also Read: India should solve these issues before World Cup 2019 […]

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