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"Reducing the order is the hardest thing. You do not get a (ready-made) player, which completes, which bats at number 5, 6 or 7 at all times."
Captain MS Dhoni chose his words carefully while addressing the media as he analyzed the defeat of India's 19th run for New Zealand to match 2-2 with everything to play in Vizag on Saturday. That is, if cyclone Kyant is enough to allow play. Dhoni is right. Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Dhoni themselves developed those skills to finish the game during the 15-20 ODIs and were put into such situations repeatedly.
In the 1990s, Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh always played this role.
So, what skills are necessary for batting at that number? The ability to read the situation, the wicket and the silence do not move quickly for big shots and it gets worse in the process.
Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav have now been given this role and none of them has played for those long postings to be successful. They are also sub-products of the IPL era where they need to play big shots. Pandey tried to play a cute stroke in Kotla on Wednesday. Dito for the hearty Pandya. The financiers of the past, who were named, were a crack opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly or Sehwag, or both Sehwag and Tendulkar, who gave a fantastic start to the team. Pandey and Jadhav have not enjoyed that luxury.
They have also been crippled with the fact that the ability to rotate the strike on the skipper's heating skills and hard pitches is at Wayne in the last 18 months.
In Mohali, when he scored 80, Dhoni was a good pitch and a good ally in the form of red-hot Virat Kohli. The skill of finding Kohli's intervals consistently helped Dhoni to make his tempo and rhythm and played a key role in the victory. In Ranchi, on a tired pitch, and with Kohli and the game is still in balance, he had to play all the games on his own.
After making 11 runs on 31 balls, he was not ready to do this. Ajinkya Rahane batted well with his 57 runs, but he is not a batsman who can take you home. not yet anyway. In front of the 35th over, he batted barely, oddly played innings. Although Dhoni will go down in history as one of India's biggest players and the game's greatest middle order players, they just need support when it controls the speed of the chase. At the age of 30 or 32, anyone could expect to get dissolved from him. Without Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh, without solid and top order of form, those solos will not be there.
It was proved in Sydney where Dhoni scored 34 runs off 42 balls for Pandey (81 * 104 *), as India scored 331 runs. Last year in Kanpur, against South Africa, Rohit Sharma scored 150 and till he was Dhoni, he did not feel bothered. But the moment Rohit went to India with 34 runs in 23 balls, Dhoni struggled.
All set to make decisions: India and New Zealand have clashed in the five-match series 2-2 in the past. In 1995, India managed to win the last ODI in Brabourne Stadium to win the series under Mohammad Azharuddin. In 1999, Tendulkar led India to win the series in the fifth ODI in Kotla.
PROBLEM area for India UNDER-PERFORMING TOP-ORDER Since 2013, rarely India has got a good start. In the four ODIs here, India has started 49, 21, 13 and 19. Rohit Sharma is left to cross 15 in four ODIs and he is one of the leading players of India. His lack of pressure brought Kohli and Dhoni under control.
Experienced MIDDLE-ORDER: Ezar Patel, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav may have played a strange innings, but they have not been in the trenches struggling for the team and saved the team several times from difficult situations. With Raina (unhealthy) or Yuvraj (ignored), the team lacks experience in tight situations.
Professional bowling: India have so far taken 30 wickets in the series, which are five additional overs. Umesh Yadav has contributed 11 out of this. In Shami's absence, he was expected to lead the attack, but the inconsistency is his trusted friend and he is always reluctant to leave his company.
Roll of Exercise: During the 2009 Champions Trophy, when Dhoni was asked about Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, he happily commented, I do not know whether he is a batsman who can bowl or a bowler who can bat. Ezhar Patel, who has enjoyed the confidence of the captain, also falls in the same boat when he did not get inspired by batting or ball, he scored 38 in the final game in Ranchi.