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ODI World Cup 2023: Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq pinpoints ‘weakest link’ in India’s batting line-up

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ODI World Cup 2023: Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq pinpoints ‘weakest link’ in India’s batting line-up



In the ongoing ICC ODI World Cup 2023, India have showcased solid performances under the leadership of Rohit Sharma as they won their first six games. However, amidst the positive results, one persistent issue has surfaced – the vulnerability of middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer against short-pitched deliveries.

Batting at the crucial No. 4 position, Iyer has encountered significant challenges, amassing just 134 runs in six innings, with a rather modest average of 22.3. His difficulties against the short ball have not gone unnoticed, as opposition teams have consistently targeted this particular weakness in his batting technique. The most recent example was his dismissal during India’s match against England in Lucknow, where he fell attempting a pull shot. Iyer’s struggle against this kind of bowling has raised concerns.

Misbah-ul-Haq’s analysis and suggested solution

Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has been quick to identified Iyer’s susceptibility to short-pitched deliveries, offering a detailed analysis of the Indian batrer’s issues. Misbah argued that, despite Iyer managing to score runs, his recurring difficulties with short balls cannot be overlooked any longer.

“He is expecting the short ball and many times, even against short-of-length balls which aren’t ideal for pulling, like the one against England, he goes for the shot. So, you are overthinking about the short ball and you are in trouble. See his front foot. After the initial movement, it goes nowhere. And he is in no position to play the short ball. And he doesn’t even try to avoid the short ball,” Misbah was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

In response, Misbah has suggested a possible solution – the return of Hardik Pandya, who has been recovering from an injury. According to the 49-year-old, Pandya should replace Iyer in the lineup, offering more solidity in the middle order.

“Hardik Pandya has to return too after being fit. From Day 1, I feel that KL Rahul at No. 5 is too late. He is a class player and should bat at No. 4. Once Hardik is back, Suryakumar Yadav can bat 6 and Jadeja 7. Then his (Iyer’s) selection would become difficult. He (Iyer) has scored runs; he is coming off a hundred against Australia, is rated high. But overall, his average against fast bowling is around 19-20 and when it comes to short balls, he is just not able to find it. When your weakness comes to the fore, all teams will exploit it,” the Mianwali-born cricketer concluded.

Also READ: ODI World Cup 2023: Salman Butt slams Mickey Arthur following Pakistan’s pathetic performance

Wasim Akram’s perspective on Shreyas Iyer’s struggles

Misbah’s viewpoint has been reinforced by Pakistani pace legend Wasim Akram, who emphasizes the need to consider an alternative in Ishan Kishan. Kishan, who has been on the bench after featuring in the initial two games, could provide a fresh approach to the middle order.

“Yeah, he has to perform because Ishan Kishan is sitting out and he is a left-hander. Remember the first game he played in the Asia Cup, he and Hardik Pandya struck a partnership. So he can bat in the middle order,” Wasim said.

As the World Cup progresses, India faces critical decisions regarding their middle-order batting, and addressing Iyer’s issues against short-pitched deliveries becomes a pivotal part of their strategy moving forward.

Also READ: Qualification scenarios for all 10 teams to secure semifinal spot in the ODI World Cup 2023

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