Despite series wins, India’s middle order lacking: Mohinder Amarnath

Indian national cricket team have been in fine form off late, after winning the 3rd test match, the team has just lost 1 match in 6 ODIs and 1 T20. After sealing their first ODI series in South Africa, the team started the 3 match T20 series in brilliant style as they posted their highest ever T20 total in the Rainbow nation. The Proteas have done well in patches in almost all the games but have failed to capitalise on an advantage not once but almost everytime.

However, even after such domination of the hosts, Indian team still have a few chinks in its armour that will need sorting out prior to the all-important World Cup next year. Mohinder Amarnath, who played 69 test matches for India recently wrote in his column for TOI, about the shaky middle order performances and how it could cause major worries in a busy season ahead.

The 67-year-old also commented on India’s test series loss and believes that it would have hurt captain Kohli and the team given they started the tour as the number 1 team in the world.

“Although they won the ODIs comfortably, the main purpose of the South Africa tour would have been to win the Tests. So there is still some work to do as far as the five-day format is concerned and the combination still needs some work when they go abroad,” Amarnath wrote in his column.

“There’s no doubt that India are definitely playing their best cricket right now. The turnaround was winning that third and final Test and it was a crucial win. Although they had lost the series, we could see the intensity was always there, they wanted to do well and show the world that they could win Test matches away too. If luck had gone India’s way, they just might have won the Tests too.”

Amarnath’s comments regarding the performance of the middle are also fully justified, given that other Kohli (558) and Dhawan (323), the 3rd highest run-scorer for the team was Rohit Sharma with 170 runs, which includes the score of 126.

Amarnath, who was the man-of-the-series in 1983’s World Cup triumph, spoke about India’s dependence on their top 3 and how dangerous it could be on a day when the top-order fails. He wrote, “As far as the one-dayers go, usually there is not much difference between sides in this format of the game. It depends on how you play on the day, but then again I felt India were riding on just one man, and that is the captain, Virat Kohli. However, other than Virat and Shikhar Dhawan, we’ve not seen much from the rest in the batting department. The worry is, what if the top order doesn’t come through on a particular day, what would happen? It is here that India need to really work hard and try and get a settled and strong middle order.”

During the final few paragraphs of his article, Amarnath took time to praise the Indian bowling contingent that has been brilliant since the start of the South African and have managed to bowl out the Proteas in almost all the matches. Chahal and Kuldeep both ended the ODI series with a record-setting 16 and 17 wickets respectively. And when the spinner’s were having a slightly off-day, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who came up with his first 5-wicket-haul in the 1st T20.

“If they have been confused by the Indian spinners, on Sunday they were outdone by the medium pace of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It doesn’t matter which format you’re playing, you still have to bowl in the right area, and still have to move the ball and keep the batsman guessing. In that respect, Bhuvneshwar is a very crafty bowler who has a lot of variation, with pace and slower deliveries, which he uses well in the death overs. He really controls the game when it comes to a tight situation. So India looks a much better, superior team, and they should win this T20 series as well,” concluded Amarnath.