A golden rule in cricket is not to toy with your top order. Experimenting is welcome, but with the lower order. The top four should stay untouched.
At this World Cup, no batting line-up compares to the might of Tendulkar & Co, but the Indian team management is taking a risk by
tinkering with this golden rule. And, the results of this experiment so far in the tournament only underline the point.
Every time skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has shuffled his batting order, it has not paid off. It failed against minnows Netherlands, and it was tried again against South Africa on Saturday with disastrous results.
Virat Kohli, who started off the tournament with a brilliant hundred at No 4, was again shuffled down the order, and he was all at sea. So too was Yusuf Pathan, who was promoted to make the most of the powerplays. The Baroda player, batting at No 4, was out for a duck, and Kohli at No 7 was out for one.
Result: It triggered a collapse which saw India losing their last nine wickets for just 29 runs.
Misplaced at No. 4
Against Netherlands, Yusuf at No 3 scored 11 and Kohli at No 5 made 12. It is clear that Yusuf is struggling to adapt to the No 4 position and Kohli is clueless down the order. Yusuf needs to understand that batting in the last 10 overs is not just about big hits from ball one while Kohli just doesn't seem to have the game for the power finish.
The fear is that due to failures the two may end up losing their confidence. Given India's heavy reliance on its batting might, it could be disastrous for its campaign.
Powerplay a worry
For all the intimidating names in the line-up, there is still some concern over their strategy in the batting powerplay.
The home batsmen's poor performance against South Africa at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday served another reminder of it.
They took the powerplay at 258 for one in the 39th over and at the end of the five-over period, India had lost four wickets for just 30 runs.
It was the period in which SA got back into the game from a hopeless position as Dale Steyn took two wickets, and Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis claimed one wicket each.
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