India’s White Ball Woes: Identifying the Challenges

India have been not playing their best cricket recently in the white ball format. They have lost faced a whitewash in the ODI series against South Africa in 2022. They were again outplayed by the Bangladesh side later that year. Then, they lost the home series against Australia 2-1. There have been many ups and downs in the wins in the last 2 years. The wins have not been convincing and the defeats have been painful. 

Things are not quite looking well for India in a World Cup year. Hampered by injuries and lack of planning, the team has been searching for the right combination to select their 15 members of the squad. In this blog, let us see some of the reasons why India have not been able to dominate in the white ball format since the last year. 

Senior Players not playing the White Ball Format Consistently

With a jam packed schedule and priority over the longest format of the game, the senior players have been rested or not considered for most of the T20Is and some of the ODI Matches. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and senior bowlers like Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj have been rested in many matches to manage their workload. This might have played a huge role in the results of many of the series. 

In the T20 Format, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are not even considered because they are prioritized to play ODIs in a World Cup year. India have tried many youngsters and non-regulars in the starting XI in T20Is. The T20 team seems to be in transition and would take some time to gel and come together as a unit. 

Experimenting before the World Cup

The Team Management have been trying various combinations in the playing XI to keep the backups ready. With injuries to KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, the management has tried lots of players at numbers 4 and 5. Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, and also Axar Patel in the middle order. The management seems to be very muddled with whom to slot in at those crucial positions in case Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul get injured. 

In the bowling department, India have given chance to youngsters like Mukesh Kumar, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, and Prasidh Krishna. They are trying to look at the possible backup options for Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, and Mohammad Shami. They are also unsure of who is the third seamer in the side along with Bumrah and Siraj. 

In the spin bowling department, there has been a toss up between Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Axar Patel. The management has settled with Kuldeep as their main spinner in the ODI format however, they are unsure of their lead spinner in the T2OIs. 

This muddled approach by the management has created a lack of clarity in the team and there hasn’t been a settled playing XI throughout the 2-3 series. 

Injuries to Key Players

The spearhead of the Indian bowling lineup Jasprit Bumrah has been out of the Indian side since August 2022. He has been the enforcer and leader of the bowling attack. In his absence and with the departure of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the bowling attack has looked lackluster and lack of potent on many occasions. 

Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have been the pillars of the Indian middle order in the ODI format at positions 4 and 5 respectively. Their injuries have hampered India’s chances to put a strong total on the board. 

Their experience is vital to the side and have been the core members of the side for the last 3-4 years. With injuries to them, the team is overly dependent on the top 3 to do the bulk of the scoring. 

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