2 Biggest problems for India ahead of the World Cup and how Kedar Jadhav can solve them both
The preparations for the upcoming ICC World Cup are in full swing. Teams all across the globe are trying to find their best combinations. The Indian cricket team is no exception to this. Before the World Cup, the men in blue will tour Down Under and are likely to take the ODI series as an opportunity to test and possibly find their winning combination.
Their recently concluded ODI series against West Indies ended 3-1 in the favour of the Indians. But it raised more questions rather than presenting solutions. Out of the five matches, India lost one, tied one and won three.
The series was much closer than what the scoreline suggests. India struggled against a side that had to play qualifiers in order to make it to the World Cup 2019. Make no mistakes, the Windies really played some great cricket. But it was largely due to the problems the current team is facing.
Let us talk about 2 of the biggest issues with the current team and look how a single man can act as a missing piece of the puzzle and resolve both the issues.
#1 Lack of impact players in the middle order
When you look at the Indian cricket team, you'll say batting is their main strength. At the top, there are three of the best batsmen in the world right now. The three are in the top ten of the ICC batsmen ratings for ODIs. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are leading the list and Shikhar is also not far behind at 9.
Right at the top, India have an explosive batsman like Shikhar Dhawan, who more often than not scores fluently. To accompany him, there is the 'Hitman', a man who has made a habit of scoring big hundreds.
But if one of them fails, there is no need to worry, the Indian cricket team has got arguably the best batsman of this era in Virat Kohli at number 3. In recent times, the Indian skipper has shown unprecedented consistency and has been scoring runs for fun.
But, this is where the problem arises. When two of the three or all three of them fail on a given day, the Indian team struggles very badly. And the issue is more complex than it looks.
To their defence, the Indian middle order hardly gets chances to prove its worth. But when required, the middle order has crumbled under pressure. The middle order has often failed to capitalise on the great start provided by the top three. On other occasions, when the top three have failed, the other batsmen have failed to steady the ship.
In short, the Indian middle order neither has an anchor, nor a finisher. This is where Kedar Jadhav can be handy. In the recent past, he has shown composure and played some match-winning knocks. The right-hander can hit the ball a long way and at the same time, he has got the calmness between the wickets. He has finished some games for his team.
More than anything, Kedar Jadhav can play according to the situation and he generally scores runs at a brisk rate. This means he can also be used as a counter-attacking option. Jadhav can accompany the in-form batsmen and also play little cameos at the end of the innings. Thus, he can assist Dhoni, who has looked out of sorts recently.
This is how Kedar Jadhav can solve the batting dilemma in the middle order.
#2 Lack of a proper sixth bowling option
The chaos in Indian middle order means that the playing eleven must consist of at least 6 proper batsmen. In addition to this, the best Indian bowlers can hardly bat (the likes of Chahal, Burmah). Consequently, the Indian team can not select an extra bowler.
So more often than not, the Indian team goes in with 5 proper bowlers. Yes, the Indian bowling has improved considerably over the last few years. But, even the cricketers of the highest quality can have an off day. This has happened in the last couple of series and the team has failed to find a proper back up on the given day.
This is where Kedar Jadhav can be handy. Often called as the man with the golden arm, Kedar Jadhav, at times has proved to be the difference even with the ball in hand. The right arm off-spinner is more than a handy option, that the captain can turn up to.
In case any main bowler has an off day, Jadhav can be called upon at any stage of the game. Even if there is not such an issue, the captain can still use Kedar Jadhav. Jadhav, with his unusual low arm action, can be used to get in some quick overs. But, this is not all he has to offer. The offie has an amazing habit of picking wickets. Thus, he can also be used as a wicket-taking option.
It will be safe to say that Kedar Jadhav can be the X-factor India needs to win the prized trophy. India requires a dynamic batsman in the middle and a quality extra bowling option. Jadhav can prove to be the solution to both the problems. He can support the top order, play cameos here and there, finish games and can be used as a wicket-taking option in the middle of the innings.