With Australia set to co-host the 2015 World Cup, it isn't surprising that the India ODI team is giving an extended run to the youngsters in the ongoing tri- series. After four league games, Amol Karhadkar looks at how the five middle-order batsmen, who could play a pivotal role to India's campaign in 2015, have fared so far...
Highest Score: 77
Strike rate: 77.90
The youngster certainly seems to have grown in confidence as the tour has gone along. After getting used to the conditions, he scored his maiden Test century in the last match and carried the form into the one-dayers with a match-winning 77 against Sri Lanka at Perth. However, his dismissals in the last two matches have raised concerns about whether the best Indian young batsman has got complacent. His place in the team in all the forms has been sealed. Hopefully, the Delhi batsman, who has seen too many ups and downs early on in his career, won't take his place in the side for granted.
Highest Score: 33
Strike rate: 74.52
The two Rs that have been dominating the team talk over the last fortnight have been 'rotation' and Rohit. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on more than one occasion, has stressed the need to rotate the three seasoned batsmen at the top of the order in order to give Rohit an extended run in the tri-series. Well, the Mumbai batsman who did nothing but serve drinks throughout the Test series, was expectedly rusty in the first two games. But when he was set for a big knock in the game against Australia in Adelaide last week, he threw his wicket away, playing a rash stroke. Was it a rush of blood, or the youngster feeling the additional burden put on him by the team management?
With Raina and Rohit failing to fire in the first half of the league stage, it's time the team management lets the Bengal batsman have a go at the Australian bowling in Brisbane on Sunday. He is a quality batsman, an outstanding fielder and a handy leg-spinner. And, don't forget, he earned the Man-of-the-Match award for his maiden one-day hundred in his last international outing - against the West Indies in Chennai on December 13. The team management should ensure Tiwary is not left warming the bench as Rohit did during the Test series.
Average: 18. 50
Highest Score: 38
Strike rate: 84.05
If the captain, intentionally or by mistake, left out Raina's name during media interactions discussing rotation policy, Gautam Gambhir, India's best batsman in the series, made it clear, saying the rotation was to give more opportunities to Rohit as well as Raina. Dhoni's close aide, Raina, has been one of the biggest disappointments of the tournament. Twice, he got his eye in and looked set to finish the game off - something he's known for. On both occasions, he threw away his wicket. Moreover, his weakness against short ball has been exposed again on more than one occasion.
Highest Score: 24*
Strike rate: 81.69
Economy rate: 5.81
Don't go by his batting numbers. The stats, as we all know, don't tell the complete story. Where Raina has failed, Jadeja has succeeded. The Saurashtra all-rounder's unbeaten cameo ensured that India opened their account in Perth against Sri Lanka with a win after Raina's rash stroke. In Adelaide on Tuesday, against the same opponents, Jadeja's quick-fire knock helped Dhoni salvage a tie. His experience of bowling in Australia - with bigger boundaries and little help for the spinners - will do a world of good to the southpaw.