The match against Bangladesh was a good workout for India. All the departments clicked and if there is one area that needs tightening, it’s the fielding.
The area of focus will be the bowling and I must say it stood up to the challenge. Everyone has had a go at Sreesanth for being expensive. He did go for plenty but we need to look at the reasons for his less-than-impressive performance.
First, we must understand his frame of mind. When the World Cup 15 was announced last month, Sreesanth wasn’t a part of the team. He was a late inclusion and it looked that he couldn’t prepare well. Between the severe sense of rejection and sudden acceptance, his preparation went for a toss. I gather he was also not an original choice in the playing eleven.
With the swing and pace he was trying to generate, it looked as if he wanted a wicket off every delivery. We should not read too much into his performance on Saturday.
There has been talk of Virender Sehwag's belligerence, but I would like to make a mention of young Virat Kohli. In the last year, he has become India's most consistent ODI batsman.
Kohli didn't hide behind Sehwag's aggression. Instead, he also took the fight to the bowlers. There was healthy competition between the two during their double-hundred partnership with both batsmen playing their strokes freely. In a way, that eased the pressure on Sehwag because he didn't feel that he needed to go for the big strokes all the time.
That’s how it should be.
The impact factor in India's batting is always there from No. 1 to No. 7. I don't expect a top order collapse to undermine the team because the middle order is strong and the top order has enough quality to rule out a middle order collapse. With Kohli, Dhoni, Yuvraj and Pathan, this is probably the strongest middle order India have ever had.
Unlike in Test cricket, it's the batsmen and not bowlers who win ODIs. Given this line-up, it is essential that the batsmen give the bowlers those few extra runs so that they can do the job. I believe this has to be the theme for this World Cup.