A complete revamp of the brittle Indian middle-order is expected with stop-gap solutions like Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav gone for good in the upcoming Indian squads as focus will firmly shift from ODIs to the shortest format, keeping next year’s World T20 in mind. The policy from the time when Mahendra Singh Dhoni took over as captain has been to prepare teams at least two years in advance for ODIs and may be around 18 months for T20s. India’s next big limited-overs assignment will be the World T20 in Australia next year and it will be happening after a gap of four years.
The selection committee, led by MSK Prasad, will be in charge till the BCCI elections are held but it is expected that it will handle the transition phase with focus for the next 14 months being more on the shortest format.
A fragile middle-order with over-the-hill players like Jadhav and Karthik, completely ill-equipped to handle pressure situations outside the sub-continental conditions, has been the current team’s biggest weakness and the World Cup semi-final result was a disaster waiting to happen.
It was not that World Cup was the only event whene India didn’t have a Plan B. They have not had a Plan B in place for two years. It didn’t matter till Kohli and Rohit would notch up one hundred after other.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s waning abilities at the death could be papered over despite the absence of a solid middle-order due to Hardik Pandya’s consistent at No.7 final assaults.
Players like Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer were dumped from the World Cup scheme of things without being given a proper run which could have boosted their confidence.
Young Shubman Gill, touted as one of the biggest batting hopes of the next decade and half, was given a game in New Zealand and set aside.
However, the World Cup has been a lesson that players like Karthik or Jadhav may have an odd Nidahas night or a rampaging evening in Pune but that would be more of an exception than the rule.
Karthik of 2019 didn’t have the game for English conditions and was persisted with on the basis of his wicket-keeping skills while Jadhav, despite lack of explosive power-hitting abilities at the death, was heavily invested upon even after factoring in his dodgy hamstrings.
For Dhoni’s game to succeed, one needs players like Jadeja and Pandya at the other end, who are much more than “bits and pieces”. But the team management certainly got it wrong as they tried to make specialists out of real “bits and pieces” players such as Kedar and Karthik.