India has seen five different batters break the 200-run mark in ODI cricket. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and Shubman Gill are the five batters in question.
Sharma has scored three double-centuries in his career alone, while the other four have hit one double-ton each. This display of power batting has contributed to a change in the dynamic of the game.
Indian batters, in particular, seem to be making merry. The current batting lineup also includes batters like Virat Kohli and KL Rahul along with power-hitters like Suryakumar Yadav who can all break the 200-run mark. Indian batters can worry opposition bowlers day in day out.
Having said this, let us take a look at the Indian team and try to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to left-handed batters, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are more than capable of making a dent in the opposition’s bowling lineup. Let’s not forget the name of classy Devdutt Padikkal. All of them can easily open the innings for team India and do well in most conditions.
With so many options at his disposal, Indian captain Rohit Sharma is spoilt for choices when it comes to picking six top-order batters. There is also a certain Rishabh Pant, who although currently out, could make a comeback before the World Cup.
To perform the functions of standby alternatives, the likes of Rahul Tripathi and Ruturaj Gaekwad are more than capable of filling in for the first team.
Iyer is rapidly developing into a smart middle-order batter who plays as per the demands of the situation. There is also the destructive Suryakumar Yadav, who can take the game away from the opposition in the blink of an eye.
India’s former captain Virat Kohli is back in form. He has hit four tons in the last four months and seems to be getting better with every passing inning. His 166* against Sri Lanka two matches ago saw him back at his vintage best.
KL Rahul is going through a lean patch but fans who have seen him bat over the years are aware of his immense potential to win games and play long innings. In case India wants other options, there are the likes of Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, and Rajat Patidar. And who can forget Sarfaraz Khan or Srikar Bharat?
Finally, Hardik Pandya at number six rounds up a solid batting order for India. The slot can also be given to a Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya or a Shahbaz Ahmed depending on the demand.
That said, an argument is often made about flat decks in India. Critics argue that most of the double tons have been made on flat Indian tracks like Gwalior, Kolkata, Mohali, Bengaluru, Indore, and Hyderabad. In the local parlance, such surfaces are referred to as “Pata” wickets. However, runs at the end of the day do add to the scoreboard and India will take them in any form.
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, India’s bowling in ODI cricket lacks teeth and penetration. That is perhaps why India almost conceded 350 runs against New Zealand even in the absence of their skipper Kane Williamson and two veteran bowlers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
Although Mohammad Siraj is enjoying unbelievable form, Mohammad Shami and Shardul Thakur do not seem to be backing up Sirja’s efforts with the ball barring the occasional game. Talented Arshdeep Singh is warming the benches for now.
The problem area for India is bowling for sure. Nine out of 10 times, India will easily go past 325 runs in the ODI format. The question, however, remains whether Indian bowling is capable of defending totals in excess of 300.
In that sense, bowling appears to be India’s Achilles heel. A good team with a solid batting line-up will put India’s bowling to the test. Indian bowlers can be taken to the cleaners on batting-friendly tracks.
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