Perhaps it is the growing presence of T20 cricket in ODI cricket that has made it increasingly difficult to bat in the middle overs, especially on slower tracks, in recent times.

Players who developed their talents in the T20 era never emphasized or felt the importance of playing boring middle overs that set up the finish line. Moving around the long circle, finding gaps in the field, rotating the strike and building partnerships are all perennial attributes for a generation in which middle-order batting has been reduced to the role of pinch-hitting. The art of constructing and pacing an innings is disappearing.

Perhaps this explains India’s many experiments, which have failed to find a stable batsman at the No. 4 or even No. 5 position. Over the last nine ODIs, India have tried six different batsmen at the No. 4 position. These include Axar Patel, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, all of whom are more suited to playing in different positions in the shortest format.

If your openers are out early, you need to build partnerships. A batsman (middle order) is not just an epathetic strokeplayer who gets into position and starts batting. He has to take the pressure, leave a few balls behind and build a partnership. It’s a tough job, someone has to be experienced, Yuvraj said in a recent appearance on Cricket Basu’s Youtube channel. The lack of that ability has been evident in India’s recent experiments.

How many players average over 50 in the middle overs 52

In 16 innings, he onlyThere was plenty for India to choose from. But if none of them can recover in time to get game time before the World Cup, India will have to squeeze the most out of what is left.

Perhaps this is a consequence of the incredibly long rope that Suryakumar has been stretched higher up the rankings. The team management hopes that he will be able to use his T20 form in all formats. Since 2020, he is the only batsman, apart from Rahul, Iyer and Pant, who has been given double-digit opportunities at the No. 4 or No. 5 position. His comeback has been dismal, averaging 25 in 16 innings with a strike percentage of less than 100. As reported in these pages, Suryakumar, as he did in the last two ODIs against the West Indies, now has to play the role of a bottom-order finisher.

Among the other players, neither Samson nor Ishan Kishan have impressed the world on the six occasions they have stepped into these positions. Even assuming the returning and possibly matured Pandya plays the No. 5 position higher up the rankings, the spot two down will effectively become a lottery if none of the three injured batsmen return.

India’s lack of depth in fast bowling has been a concern of late, especially in international competitions. But with the Indians having a number of experienced spinners, the middle order could be the biggest problem.

I can be patriotic and say, India will win because.

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