India’s reliance on top 3 gets Lara thumbs down
THERE are some questions that remain unanswered for years. Not to that extent, but India’s middle-order muddle has made scores of people in the fraternity scratch their heads. If it was not for the swift and sudden elevation of Ambati Rayudu to the Indian dressing room, the question would have largely stayed unanswered.
In the last few years, the toporder of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli has steered the team to famous victories, while batting first as well as chasing. The middle-order, chiefly the No 4 spot, has only been an area of experimentation. Seven different batsmen, from Kedar Jadhav to KL Rahul have been tried in that position since the tour of Sri Lanka last year.
The much-hailed troika’s influence on the team in the past 36 months could be gauged from the fact that Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli have averaged 49.46, 70.41 and 94.47, respectively.
West Indies great Brian Lara on Saturday warned India of overly relying on the three ahead of the quadrennial showdown that commences in England next year. Picking India as one of the firm favourites for the tournament, the Trinidadian said, “India have been really consistent. However, there is too much reliance on (Rohit) Sharma and (Virat) Kohli and the top order. India will have to do something about 4 to 7 to make sure that if these guys don’t produce results upfront, there is a good back-up. Playing and scoring in India is a different ball game from playing in England and Australia. So, the World Cup will be a testing time for a lot of players.”
The 49-year-old even predicted a final featuring England and India. “If I were to think of it, an India-England final is most likely, if they do not meet earlier in the competition. England are very strong at home. On the other hand, they have not really won many big tournaments. So it might just be wishful thinking,” Lara, who is in the city to participate in the Krishnapatnam Port Golden Eagles Golf Championship, opined.
The former batsman marked teams such as Pakistan to create surprises in the tournament. “The favourites are four or five teams. It is very hard to separate them when they are playing at their best. Then there are teams like Pakistan which surprised everyone in the last Champions Trophy by getting rid of India in the final, after suffering a big defeat against them earlier in the tournament. They are so unpredictable that you can never be sure what will happen. They can make an exit in the first round itself or go till the end.”
Kapil Dev and Brian Lara at the fourth edition of Golden Eagles Golf Championship in Hyderabad |