India’s team performance in the ongoing tour of South Africa have got them plaudits from across the world, from current cricketers to past legends, everyone has been astonished at the way the team has played and how proficient their captain has been with the bat, especially Sanjay Manjrekar, who is a little concerned about India’s middle order, however.
Following a disappointing start to their tour with two successive test defeats Virat Kohli and his team have roared back in the best way possible. Despite losing the series, they fought hard to chalk out a 63 run win in the 3rd test before demolishing the South African team 5-1 in the ODI series. Kohli has himself led from the front, scoring the only hundred in the test series and then scoring a staggering 558 runs in the ODI series.
Sanjay Manjrekar pleased with Indian Team’s grit
Sanjay Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs for India wrote in his column for Times of India, how pleased he was to see India’s fighting spirit after the starting the series in a disastrous fashion.
The 52-year-old wrote, “There is a lot of optimism around Indian cricket at the moment. That fighting spirit shown in the last Test on a dangerous pitch despite having lost the series got a lot of admiration for Virat (Kohli) and his boys from the fans. Their dominance in the One-day series that followed does not surprise me. India are a very good 50-overs side and unlike in Tests, in all conditions.”
Apart from Kohli, the other big positive to come out from this series was the performance of the bowling contingent as a whole, especially the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who took a combined total of 33 wickets in the 6 match ODI series, an all-time high record. Speaking about the bowling unit and their performance, Manjrekar wrote,
“The two young wrist spinners have made such an incredible difference that this Indian side is virtually unrecognisable from the one that played last year. Now there are as many bowling heroes as there are batting ones, a rare scenario indeed in Indian cricket.”
There has been just one criticism that has come India’s way during this tour and that has been the poor performance of the middle-order who have flattered to deceive whenever the chance has arrived. Players like Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer are all vying for those two spots in the middle order above Hardik and Dhoni. India’s next assignment following the upcoming T20I series against South Africa, will be a T20 tri-series between Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India in Island nation.
Tri-Series an opportunity to sort out Indian middle-order
Manjrekar believes that the upcoming tri-series will give India the perfect chance to plug those holes in the middle-order before a final group of players is decided on for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
“In between these major foreign tours, they will have some respite though in the form of cricket in Asia like the Nidahas trophy in Sri Lanka to mark 70 years of Sri Lankan independence. This will be a T20 triangular featuring the hosts, Bangladesh and of course India. I see this tournament as a great chance for India to plug a few holes that don’t seem very obvious when you are winning but are there nevertheless. With these holes filled India should be watertight as a team, and be formidable in all formats which is every nation’s dream,” he further wrote.
India need 360 batsmen for T20, says Sanjay Manjrekar
Concluding his article Manjrekar touched upon the need for a player who can play a 360 game, especially in today’s modern playing style. He wrote
“In Rohit (Sharma), Shikhar (Dhawan) and Virat, India have a pretty good top three. In (Hardik) Pandya, they have a good floater and big hitter. Search should be on, though, for at least two middle-order batsmen who can play the modern 360-degree game. Somehow, India are still a bit traditional when they bat in T20s.”