Melbourne: It can be tough to change strategies overnight, but given the situation of the ODI series, it is time for India to look at alternative ways to combat Australia in order to open their win account at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here today after two losses in Perth and Brisbane.
The first logical choice is to try their hand at batting second but ever since the decline of India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the past year, India ability to mow down huge totals has depreciated greatly. India have lost nine games and won only four in last two years chasing a target over 275. Only one of those wins has been outside Asia, that too against Zimbabwe in the World Cup.
Ravindra Jadeja. Pics/AFP, PTI
So, instead, it is perhaps time to reconsider the impact of the new ODI rules and adapt accordingly. In the last two games, India's middle order has failed to get that thrust from the 30th to the 50th over. With five players now outside the ring from the 40th to 50th over and with India lacking big hitters, it has been difficult to hit those boundaries.
Aware of the rule changes and the conditions in Australia Dhoni stated, "On big outfields in Australia, more than sixes and fours, what you can do really well is hit it in the middle, look for those twos and threes. In six balls you can easily get eight to 10 runs" While Dhoni might have lost his hitting proficiency, his ability to manoeuvre the ball into gaps and his speed between the wickets makes him the best option to implement this theory.
With India's next two matches scheduled on two of Australia's largest playing surfaces in Melbourne and Canberra, the situation perhaps warrants Dhoni to keep himself down the order and promote the likes of Manish Pandey and Ravindra Jadeja to take advantage of having only four men outside the circle until the 40th over.
One must admit India batting methodology from the opening over to the 30th have been near perfect and telling the top order to go even harder in that period will be ludicrous. The change needs to take place from the 30th to 40th over and beyond.
It is almost like India need to create their own powerplay in their mind from the 30th to the 40th over. If that method is to be followed then India should try maximise the runs in that period and let Pandey and Jadeja bat with freedom. This will also enable Dhoni to bat in the last 10 overs in an accumulating style, something that he personally feels is ideal way to bat on the larger surfaces.
Dhoni admitted after the match he is yet to know how the new rules have affected the game. "The moment a rule change happens, it will definitely have an impact on the game. What exactly has changed I think, I will take a bit more time to figure it out."
With only one night between games, Dhoni will need to figure what has changed soon or time will run out.