Team India’s recent resounding victory over Australia in the rain-affected game in Indore not only showcased their prowess but also created a selection headache for the team management. With just around 10 days remaining for the commencement of India’s World Cup campaign on home soil, a particular area of concern has surfaced – the middle-order.
A Battle for Middle-Order Slots
The top-order seems well-established, and the bowling line-up appears to be in good shape. However, the conundrum lies in the middle-order, where four players are competing for two crucial spots – No. 4 and 5. The fitness concerns surrounding Shreyas Iyer, who suffered a back injury during the Asia Cup after returning from a lengthy layoff, had raised questions about his World Cup inclusion. However, he silenced the doubts with a magnificent century against Australia in the 2nd ODI.
In the same game, Suryakumar Yadav, often struggling to translate his T20 batting brilliance into the 50-over format, appeared to have hit his stride, registering his second consecutive fifty and a career-best score. Another contender, Ishan Kishan, left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, has been in discussions ever since his remarkable 82 in the rain-affected match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Meanwhile, KL Rahul, displaying sublime form, continues to make a strong case for his inclusion.
Harbhajan Singh’s Endorsement for Suryakumar Yadav
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh, although not delving directly into the middle-order selection dilemma, has ardently supported Suryakumar Yadav’s inclusion in the World Cup playing XI. On his YouTube channel before India’s third ODI against Australia in Rajkot, Harbhajan praised Yadav as an “ace of spades” in India’s World Cup squad. He expressed his opinion that Suryakumar’s name should be the first on the team sheet, followed by the rest.
“Suryakumar Yadav has to play all the matches. I don’t care whom he replaces, but his name should be taken first and then the rest. You have a player who is a pure match winner and can single-handedly make the game one-sided. He is the ace of spades. We have been talking about a finisher…he is the one. He has to play at No. 5 for India,” he asserted.
As Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma return to the lineup for the final ODI against Australia, the batting order will be under scrutiny in Rajkot. The middle-order selection puzzle remains a topic of intrigue, with the team management facing the challenging task of determining the ideal combination to bolster India’s World Cup campaign.