Former captain Mohammed Azharuddin reckons that the Indian team’s opening woes will continue to create problems during next year’s cricket World Cup if Shikhar Dhawan fails to work on technical flaws that has crept into his batting. “I had observed Shikhar’s problem with short ball when he played for India in the Champions Trophy in England. There he scored runs and it was not noticed but I had an idea that this would create problems. Shikhar does not have the proper technique to play short ball. He has a flaw in his basic technique,” Azharuddin said.
“Our opening partnership is of big concern. Since South Africa series, we have not got good starts. Since, we are coming to play here in World Cup, adaptability is key and opening will be major concern for India in next year’s World Cup,” Azhar pointed out. Asked to elaborate on Dhawan’s problems, the 50-year-old former captain explained, “Firstly, he doesn’t leave the rising deliveries and has a tendency to awkwardly fend at it which is wrong. Secondly, he stands outside the crease which is the reason he meets the rising delivery early which is also a mistake”, he said.
“The more you use the depth of the crease, it helps you play the ball late. A 145 kmph delivery’s speed will reduce by a few kms if you stand inside the crease”. But having pointed out Dhawan’s mistakes, he also admitted that there aren’t too many openers in the horizon either.
“That’s also a problem. Viru (Virender Sehwag) hasn’t scored any runs and Gautam (Gambhir) I believe also has problems with short deliveries. So what does Dhoni do? He has a genuine problem,” Azhar said. Azharuddin, a veteran of 99 Tests and 334 ODIs, was also not happy with the team combination in the ongoing series against New Zealand and questioned the team management’s decision to keep paceman Umesh Yadav out of the side.
“Where is that boy Umesh? He is there in the squad and is a better option than Ishant Sharma. Why don’t they play him? Also I believe that it was a good decision to leave (Suresh) Raina out. He has got enough chances and some of the others now need to be tried out before the World Cup. But I don’t see consistency in this team while playing abroad. Well, you can tinker with one or at the maximum two slots but what if four to five slots become a concern. You need couple of more players to fire consistently along with Virat (Kohli) and Dhoni,” the former skipper observed.
The Hyderabadi was also critical of spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s flat bowling. “I was very disappointed with today’s performance. It was not an usual New Zealand track and we should have been able to defend on a track that offered turn. I was watching Jadeja get sufficient turn from the track. Ashwin should have got more purchase but he looked very flat. It looked to me that he was bowling too many straighter ones rather than bowling the off-breaks,” Azharuddin concluded.