3 major concerns for India ahead of World Cup after series loss against Australia

HT Correspondent
India had few questions to answer before the Australia series, and the loss has only added more questions than answers before the World Cup.

After the series loss against Australia, captain Virat Kohli did not want to hand out excuses but instead focus on what could be changed. He also said that there was no panic in the dressing room and that India’s World Cup plans are perfectly on track.

Australia won their first bilateral ODI series in India since 2009, and this was a reversal which should be taken quite seriously by the Indian team management. The players will now head across to different franchises for the upcoming IPL, but what about the World Cup plans?

 

We take a look at three major talking points from the series loss and how it could have an impact on India’s World Cup ambitions:

Dependence on the top order

India’s prolific run in limited overs cricket was primarily because of their top order - which has been their engine room over the last 15-20 months. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli have been prolific at the top of the order and more often than not, one of the batsman wins the game for the side.

However, in New Zealand and then against Australia at home, India struggled every time the top order failed to click and the middle order was just not able to step up and be counted.

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Middle order muddle

Who will be India’s number 4 at the World Cup? The question occupied all the headlines before this series, this question has popped up in the many series before this year too, and yet, after trying out as many as six to seven players in the role, there is little clarity on who will walk out in England against South Africa for India’s first game at the World Cup.

“As a side, combination-wise, we are pretty sorted condition-based. Maximum one change, you’ll get to see condition-based. But other than that, the XI we want to play, we are pretty clear about it,” Kohli said after the series loss and this could well be this middle order spot even he is worried about.

Backup wicket-keeper

Dinesh Karthik was axed and Rishabh Pant was included against Australia. Pant was given a go in the final two games when MS Dhoni was rested. However, for all his potential, the young man has not nailed down his spot in this side. He struggled with the gloves in Mohali, did not too convincing against the spinners in Delhi and then failed to step up and take responsibility with the bat when the pressure was amped in Delhi during the chase.

Will the Indian selectors go back to Dinesh Karthik for the World Cup or will they persist with Rishabh Pant. Also, former Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir said before the fifth match that India should look at KL Rahul as the secondary wicket-keeper for the World Cup. This is now a huge problem for India for the World Cup.