Trust Ian Chappell to come out with something out of the box time and again. The former Australian captain and renowned commentator has made an interesting suggestion in respect to Team India's woes at the top of the order in a recent column. According to Chappell, since Shikhar Dhawan has been struggling so miserably with the bat, it won't be a bad idea for India to try out Stuart Binny at the top of the order in place of the out of form left-hander. Chappell feels that Binny has a better technique than Dhawan when it comes to facing the new ball, and hence could open the innings with Rohit Sharma.
For starters, the suggestion seems very bizarre for Binny is yet to prove his worth in the side. At the same time, it is a chance they can definitely take for they have nothing to lose really. As it is, Dhawan is getting out very early in the innings, and if Binny also fails in that position, it won't make much of a difference to India's chances. On the contrary, if the move works, it would make life for Team India a lot easier. India can then afford to fit Binny in as the batting all-rounder. The position left vacant by him in the middle order could either be filled by Dhawan himself, or even Ambati Rayudu. May be they could even fit in an extra bowler in that position as per the demands of the situation.
It can obviously be argued that opening is a specialist position, and asking Binny to go out and open under such tough circumstances would be akin to throwing him into the deep end of the sea. At the same time, it must be remembered that Dhawan's constant failure has left India with little option but to take desperate measures. In case, India ask Binny to go out and open the innings, it will definitely be one. But, at the same time, it is also an opportunity for someone like Binny to prove what kind of mettle he possesses. It is no secret that there has been plenty of backlash over Binny's inclusion in the World Cup squad. It could be an opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong.
Although opening is a specialist job, the experiment of promoting a middle-order batsman to open in ODIs is nothing new. In fact, they have been doing so for a couple of decades now, and have been extremely successful. It all began when Sachin Tendulkar went into bat after Navjot Sidhu got injured during a game in Auckland in 1994. Tendulkar blasted his way to a brilliant knock, and never looked back for the rest of his career. Sourav Ganguly was also promoted up the order, and ended up as one of the finest ODI players. The tradition continued with Virender Sehwag, and Rohit Sharma is only carrying forward the legacy.
India only have a couple of international matches to play before the World Cup, and they have innumerable issues to sort out. The opening position is undoubtedly one of their biggest woes. Thus, it is imperative that India try out something different at the top of the order in the remaining two games. If that means risking Binny at the top of the order, and demoting or even dropping Dhawan so be it. Unless India take some harsh steps and figure out their worries, they cannot be expected to defend the World Cup.
--By A Cricket Analyst