3 aggressive middle-order batsmen India should try before the 2019 World Cup
India lost the ODI series 2-1 against England. Though they started the series with a stunning win in the opening game, everything went south in the final two games of the three-match series. The visitors were beaten convincingly in the last two games and they could not put up a fight.
One major problem that India is facing ahead of the 2019 World Cup is their middle-order. Though the top three spots in the Indian batting lineup looks certain, the next three isn’t. India tried KL Rahul in the first two games but dropped him for the series decider. Rahul scored a hundred in the T20 series but was unlucky to lose his place to Dinesh Karthik.
Virat Kohli persisted with Suresh Raina but he failed to deliver. Dhoni’s strike rate is becoming a concern. Though Kohli voiced out in support of his former captain, it cannot be justified on a longer run.
India’s slow run rate in the middle-overs has hurt them badly in the series. India needs an aggressive batsman in the middle-order who can maintain the momentum built by their top three.
On that note, let’s take a look at the three aggressive middle-order batsmen India should look into before the 2019 World Cup.
#3 Krunal Pandya
Mumbai Indians all-rounder Krunal Pandya is one of the exciting players in Indian cricket. Krunal Pandya has done exceedingly well for Mumbai Indians in IPL cricket over the last two seasons and was selected for the India A team recently.
The 27-year-old is a clever left-arm spinner in limited-overs cricket and can hit the ball a long distance. He is a useful batsman to have in the lower middle-order. The Baroda all-rounder has picked up 22 wickets and scored almost 500 runs in his last two IPL seasons.
With a batting strike rate of 152.91 in Twenty20 cricket, Krunal Pandya is one of those players who can keep the scoreboard ticking. He is an aggressive batsman who possesses a wide array of attacking shots. He could be a great option at No.6 for India in ODIs.
#2 Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu is one of the most underrated cricketers to have played for India. The Hyderabad batsman made his ODI debut in 2013 but has played only 34 matches. Despite his huge potential, the 32-year-old has had an underwhelming career so far.
Rayudu got back to his best in the last few years after the ICL debacle and was superb for Mumbai Indians in IPL. He moved to Chennai Super Kings last season and scored 602 runs at a strike rate of 150. The former under-19 captain was in and out of the Indian ODI side but was not able to nail down a regular spot.
After a stunning IPL 2018 with CSK, Rayudu was once again selected in the Indian ODI squad for the tour of England. However, he failed the fitness test and was replaced by Suresh Raina. India is scheduled to play more than 20 ODIs before the World Cup and they definitely need to have a look at what Ambati Rayudu can offer.
#1 Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant took the IPL 2018 by storm with some phenomenal hitting. He has scored 684 runs in the tournament at a strike rate of 173.60, which included 37 sixes. He made five fifties and a hundred in the tournament at an average of 52.61.
Even before his IPL 2018 exploits, Pant was selected in the Indian T20 team in 2017 because of his stunning domestic form. Pant’s strike rate in List A and first-class cricket are 105.16 and 98.54 respectively.
The 20-year-old is a fearless cricketer with huge potential. Though India has some great attacking batsmen in their current ODI lineup, none could bat with the ferocity of Rishabh Pant. He struggled for consistency early in his career but has improved a lot in the last 12 months. On his day, the 20-year-old can destroy any bowling attack.