It's time for limited-overs cricket and India are feeling the absence of Yuvraj Singh. More than his batting, it is his bowling which is proving to be irreplaceable.
Yuvraj had played the fifth bowler's role with great success during India's successful World Cup campaign. His unavailability for the ODI series, following a hand injury, has upset the side's balance. It hurt India in the T20 at Old Trafford when the England batsmen targeted part-timers Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni had no options when his main spinner, R Ashwin, flopped.
As he gets ready to take on England in the five-match one-day series, the skipper admitted bowling was a worry.
"We were forced to push a bit hard on the bowling front as we did not have too many options when it came to the fifth bowler. We had two off-spinners and Virat, who has not bowled too much in the T20 format. We can't afford to play five specialist bowlers as then we will be a batsman short," said Dhoni after the defeat on Wednesday.
India have for been searching for an all-rounder without any success. This is here where England have an edge. All-rounders Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan played a leading role in the Test series victory and will be the key players in the ODIs.
India's success has been based on their batting, but it is inconsistency that has hurt them on this tour. The pattern of sudden collapses has continued, and it occurred again in the T20 match when they collapsed from 104 for one to 165 all out.
The captain blamed lack of partnerships for the poor results. Apart from his 41-run partnership with Suresh Raina, there was no other double-digit stand in the last 10 overs.
"It is a short format but even then people don't realise that it is important to have partnerships going. You do not want to lose too many wickets, so that when you go into the slog overs, you have five-six wickets in hand."