Former India batsman S Badrinath has opined the glaring difference between India and Australia in the ongoing series is the lack of bowling options in Virat Kohli’s side. He compared the current Indian outfit to that of yesteryear as well.
In an interview with Star Sports Tamil, Badrinath threw light on the Indian team under Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in which almost everyone in the top 5 could roll their arm over.
On the flip side, in the current setup, Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer are not likely to bowl regularly in international cricket, while it's almost impossible to remember the last time Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan sent down deliveries.
Although Hardik Pandya bowled four overs in the second ODI, he has not fully recovered from his back injury yet.
“No one from the top 5 or top 6 is bowling now. If you look at the Indian teams in the past, top-order batsmen managed to bowl a bit. Sehwag used to bowl, Sachin used to bowl, even Ganguly used to bowl."
"They used to give the captain 3-4 overs. You can manage 10 overs with them. When a bowler had a bad day, they didn’t have the necessity to give him 10 overs. India is missing that now,” Badrinath explained.
This has been the case in India’s twin losses at the Sydney Cricket Ground, when Virat Kohli had no option but to persist with Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal despite the duo being taken to the cleaners by the Aussie batters.
Rohit Sharma can't contribute to Team India with the ball, feels Badrinath
Apart from the lack of a sixth bowling option, a lot of talk has been about India missing Rohit Sharma’s experience and presence at the top of the order. But Badrinath feels Rohit won’t be able to add to the balance of the side as he doesn’t bowl anymore.
He heaped praise on Australia for having as many as eight bowling options in their playing XI. In addition to the four frontline bowlers and Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques, the Aussies can also avail of the leg spin of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
“Even if Rohit Sharma returns...he is not bowling these days. At the same time, look at Australia, they have someone like Marcus Stoinis...He can bowl 5-6 overs easily. Maxwell can bowl. You need this aspect in limited overs cricket. I think India are struggling a bit in this aspect,” Badrinath, who played 10 international matches, concluded.
After losing the first two ODIs by margins of 61 runs and 55 runs respectively, India will play the dead rubber on Wednesday (December 2), before heading on to the 3-match T20I series starting on Friday (December 4).