Ritam ∙ Updated: Jul 28 2023, 5:40 PM | 3 Min Read

India’s Primary Batting Concerns Remain Unresolved In Bridgetown And They Only Have Themselves To Blame

image-lkmbvmcdTeam India raised everyone's eyebrows by sending batters randomly against WI in the first ODI. (Image - AP).

There was no question that the West Indies and India ODI series opener would be a boring and one-sided affair. Given that spectators in Bridgetown only saw 45.5 overs of play, the outcome was as anticipated on Thursday. However, Rohit Sharma managed to keep everyone guessing who would follow whom in the Men in Blue's pursuit of a paltry 115, which naturally made the game a little bit interesting for fans.

“I thought restricting them (West Indies) to 115 got us in the commanding position that we needed, so we thought we could give those guys a chance who haven't played a lot in the last few weeks,” Rohit explained his reasoning at the press-match presentation. 

However, did the decisions make sense given that the ODI World Cup is only two months away and their batting order is already set? Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Even though the West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC Rankings and just put on a terrible performance at the World Cup Qualifiers, it is still an international tour of India as part of the ODI World Cup’s preparations. 

By removing Shikhar Dhawan from the equation, the Indian think tank has informally confirmed that Shubman Gill will partner with Rohit at the top. The following player is Virat Kohli, who does not require an introduction. 

The only real openings at the moment are Nos. 4 and 5, and even those positions would not have existed if Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul had not sustained untimely injuries a few months earlier. Which individuals were at the audition? Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, while Sanju Samson did not even get the chance to be in the playing XI.

Keeping in mind that there was so little target, Rohit sent Ishan Kishan on top to open with Gill. Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, SKY, and Rohit himself entered the batting order in that order, with Rohit coming in at No. 7 due to an unexpected collapse. Ishan scored a quickfire 52 off only 46 balls, SKY made 19 off only 25 balls, and Hardik lost his wicket carelessly for five. After these performances, what did India accomplish? Will any of these aid in resolving their current issues?

“I never thought the pitch was going to play like that. It was the team's need; we wanted to have a score in front of us but never thought the pitch would deteriorate like that,” Rohit acknowledged after the game. 

Fair enough, since India typically prefers to chase, a bowling attack without Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami cannot be relied upon. However, you are up against a fragile West Indies attack in this instance that did not even have Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder.

After winning the toss, surely India must have had the courage to bat here against this side, right? That gave Rahul Dravid a good headache to have because it would enable the batters to arrive sequentially and demonstrate their true potential at their preferred positions. 

I mean, with all due respect to Ishan Kishan, does his brisk half-century solve any of India’s concerns, or are they not serious enough to win the elusive title at home after 12 long years?

Let’s see what Rohit and Co. come up with when the two sides meet again on Saturday (July 29).