Kuldeep Yadav's form ahead of the start of the World Cup 2019 is a big worry for India. In IPL 2019, the young Chinaman played nine matches for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and took just four wickets at an economy of 8.66
Indian cricket fans are a bit worried after India's forgetful performance against New Zealand in their first warm-up game of the ICC World Cup 2019. Under overcast conditions, New Zealand's fast bowlers led by Trent Boult made Indian batters look ordinary and sent a strong message to all those who aren't rating them highly in the tournament.
India were bundled out for just 179 runs in 39.2 overs and, in reply, Kiwis chased the target easily and won the match by six wickets (with 77 balls remaining). This result came as a big surprise for many as India are one of the pre-tournament favorites and their batting line-up is one of the best in the world.
Also read: India lose warm-up game to New Zealand
This result is an early wake-up call for India as there are some areas that the Indian cricket team needs to address and be prepared before the real game begins.
Let's have a look at some of the biggest takeaways for India from their first warm-up game.
1) India need patience at the top of the order
India's top three have very good numbers in England and their form will be the most critical factor for Indian in the ICC World Cup 2019. Under overcast conditions, Indian openers will have to bat very cautiously in the first 10 overs and keep wickets in hand so that their weakest link i.e. their middle-order doesn't get exposed to the new ball. Many pundits believe that pitches in England will be mostly good for batting but in case the overhead conditions are favor of fast bowlers, India's top three will have to control their hitting instincts in the first 10 overs and negotiate the new ball even if it requires scoring three to four runs in an over.
2) Kuldeep Yadav's form is a big worry
Kuldeep Yadav has been one of India's biggest assets in limited-overs cricket in the last one-and-a-half years. His partnership with Yuzvendra Chahal has been very effective, especially in the middle overs, and this is why captain Virat Kohli believes that these two are the "pillars" of India's bowling unit. However, Kuldeep's form ahead of the start of the World Cup 2019 is a big worry for India. In IPL 2019, the young Chinaman played nine matches for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and took just four wickets at an economy of 8.66. He struggled in all the nine games and as a result, he was dropped from the playing XI for the team's last five league matches.
In the warm-up game against New Zealand, Yadav bowled eight wicketless overs for 44 runs. Kiwi batters looked at utmost against Kuldeep and scored runs freely all around the park off his bowling.
Ahead of the big opening game against South Africa on June 5, Kuldeep's poor form with the ball is one of the biggest worries for India.
3) Mohammed Shami ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is rated as one of the swing bowlers in the world because of his brilliant seam position and skills but, in the last 12 months or so, he has lost some speed and the ball is also not moving as sharply as it used to, especially with the new nut. In the warm-up game against New Zealand, Bhuvneshwar bowled four overs for 27 runs and his bowling looked flat even when there was assistance for the fast bowlers.
If Kohli decides to play with only two fast bowlers then Mohammed Shami should play ahead of Bhuvneshwar as he is faster, swifter and sharper than Bhuvneshwar at the moment.
4) Hardik Pandya is India's trump card
Interestingly, Hardik Pandya came out to bat ahead of MS Dhoni, at number five against New Zealand. Pandya didn't let the situation bother him too much and counter-attacked Kiwis in his trademark style. The stylish all-rounder could only manage to score 30 runs off 37 balls but the manner in which he scored his runs was very impressive. In the bowling department, Pandya bowled four overs for 26 runs and took the important wicket of Martin Guptill.
Also read: All the 10 squads for World Cup 2019
In World Cup 2019, Pandya will be India's trump card with both bat and ball, and his aggressive cameos down the order will be critical to India's chances in the tournament.
5) Ravindra Jadeja's timely half-century
Ravindra Jadeja has built his case stronger with a thrilling fifty after the top-order failure. Jadeja, who was picked as a replacement for Kuldeep and Chahal in case of an injury, has sent a timely reminder to the team management that he can also be considered as a replacement for Kedar Jadhav in case the Maharashtra batsman doesn't recover on time from his shoulder injury.
Jadeja dominated the spinners and rotated the strike brilliantly in his innings. He marshaled the lower-order well and took India to 179 runs after a horrific top-order collapse.
Last Updated 10:46 PM IST