The Indian team suffered two huge losses in the first two ODI encounters against Australia despite putting up over 300 runs in both the run-chases. The lack of bowling options, however, was the major concern with the main pacers failing to contain the flow of runs while unable to pick wickets upfront.
The regular pattern of such losses since the last World Cup showcased the importance of Hardik Pandya the all-rounder but with him limited his bowling due to his back problem, it has left India in an uneven field that needs a quick course correction. Is there anyone at least who can replace Ravindra Jadeja whose bowling has fallen from a cliff?
India grapple with questions like this but is there a definitive answer in the feeder system that boasts some of the finest talents ever assembled in the history of Indian Cricket. We look back at three such options who can be groomed to be in the set-up for a long time.
Options for Indian Team
In his 23-match T20I career and of course in the IPL, Washington Sundar has proven how intelligent he is in bringing the game back to the clutch. He is economical, his tall stature confuses the drift and flight in the batsman’s head while Sundar possesses a strong acumen in slowing the game down – the lack of which cost India dearly in the last two encounters in Sydney.
When it comes to batting, the Tamil Nadu boy can be a handy operator if he is groomed properly. On the junior circuit, Sundar had started as a batsman and gradually became a bowling all-rounder but the ability to hit a long ball is still there. With Ravindra Jadeja yet to light up the stage as a quirky all-rounder in 50-over cricket, it is perhaps time to bring in Sundar and give him a decent rope to succeed.
It might be recency bias, but purely on the basis of his consistency in the 2020 IPL, the boy from Haryana deserves a break. Not least because he scored 255 runs at 42.50, he also picked up 10 wickets at 32.60. He was unafraid of the stage and his valiant nature found its true discourse in the process.
A proper journeyman, the thing that Tewatia brings to the table can never be comprehended fully. A bullish cricketer who is ready to showcase whatever the limited talent he has at his disposal without having to worry about what the world thinks of him. It might not work in the long run but that is pure guessing. In the era of slam-bang cricket, there is a place for workhorses and if they are backed to the tilt, and who knows, we might have a future hero.
Youthful exuberance and a focused attitude, the moment you meet Abhishek Sharma, he will win you over. It was a BCCI awards function in Bangalore in 2017, I had met the Punjab who had taken the junior circuit by storm but the ability to stay grounded and his focus on the ultimate aim despite being within some of the greats of the game left me awestruck. One shouldn’t be surprised if Sharma becomes the beacon of hope and a star in the Indian cricket community in the future.
Lack of opportunity might have played in Sharma not having a great IPL this time with Sunrisers Hyderabad but the assurance he exuberates while on the field leaves you thinking. A soft-spoken guy, Sharma is vigilant and studies the batsmen on the go while devising his own tactics. That is something India have been searching for for the longest time and who knows grooming him might land a superstar we all have been waiting for. It just needs a little bit of push and a result will start to show.