Even though one match is left in the ODI series against New Zealand, there is not much interest in the game since India have already lost the series 3-0. Considering that the 2015 World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand, the result is a massive cause of worry for India. We list down five problems India will need to sort out if they hope to do well at next year’s World Cup.
Opening woes: It wasn’t long ago that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were earmarked as India’s openers for the World Cup. Things have changed since, and to such an extent that Dhawan had to be dropped from the 4th ODI against New Zealand. The inability to deal with conditions when the ball is doing something for the bowlers has been Dhawan’s main woe. He has embarrassed himself against the short ball as well playing some ungainly strokes. The situation is not too different for Rohit though he got a half-century in the last game. He has mostly looked out of sync in South Africa and New Zealand. Is it just a temporary loss of form or have their techniques been exposed? India will need to figure out soon.
Problems with past bowling: There are problems galore with the bowling. When India dropped Zaheer Khan in favour of youth, they found some impressive names in Praveen Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami among many others. But, while Bhuvneshwar and Shami remain in the picture, their inexperience is showing. Praveen on the other hand has been busy sorting out his temper issues. India do have an experienced hand in Ishant Sharma, but he has been so mediocre that critics have often questioned his presence in the team. India would now be wondering whether they need to go back to Zaheer.
Who’ll bat at No.4 four? With Yuvraj Singh being dropped following yet another failed comeback, India’s woes at number four remain. It is very difficult to replace a player of Yuvraj’s calibre, as India have learnt the hard way. One wonders whether the selectors should have persisted with him for one more series considering the paucity of resources. The limited options include Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu, but the ODI against New Zealand. The inability to deal question is whether they have enough time left to establish themselves at the crucial position.
Non-performing Suresh Raina: Should India persist with the left- hander in spite of his constant failures? He has the experience without doubt, but pace bowlers the world over have worked out how to get him out with the short ball without much trouble. And Raina, surprisingly, hasn’t shown any kind of adaptability. In form, he is an asset to the team, but he needs to start delivering soon.
Spin combination: Slow bowling wouldn’t play a major part in Australia and New Zealand, but this is India’s strength so they cannot ignore it as well. Ravichandran Ashwin hasn’t done well with the ball away from home, but even if India adopt a one-spinner policy at the World Cup, using Ravindra Jadeja, their batting would be weakened severely since the Indian pace bowlers are nowhere near decent batsmen.
--By A Cricket Analyst