India World Cup batsmen struggling to make mark in IPL 2019

Ajit Vijaykumar 11:54 09/04/2019
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Rohit, Kohli and Dhawan. Images: BCCI/Sportzpics.

Generally, you wouldn’t look too much into T20 statistics when assessing a team’s chances in a 50-over tournament.

But this year the scenario is different as the Indian Premier League ends in the same month the 2019 World Cup begins – May.

Since many sides are still finalising their World Cup squads, performances in the IPL are bound to be considered for the final few contentious positions in some teams. even if the decision makers don’t explicitly say so.

Also, teams are keeping a close eye on how their top players are holding up in the tournament. A great or poor run in the T20 league in India can be expected to spill over into England, in some if not all cases.

If that turns out to be the case, then the form of India’s World Cup batsmen should be a cause for concern. While batting has generally been tough so far this IPL owing to some notoriously difficult pitches, the sluggish form of almost all frontline Indian batsmen is perplexing.

Here we take a closer look at their stats, as of April 8.

For the record, Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen David Warner (349 runs at a strike rate of 146) and Jonny Bairstow (263 runs at SR of 161) lead the run chart, while KKR assassin Andre Russell (207 at SR of 268) is miles ahead when it comes to hitting this season.

Rohit Sharma.

Rohit Sharma.

ROHIT SHARMA

Matches: 5, Runs: 118, Avg: 23.60, Strike rate: 122.91

The Mumbai Indians captain has not been at his fluent best in 2019. A few dodgy wickets in New Zealand and against Australia at home in ODIs meant Rohit couldn’t get off to flyers like he generally does.

That difficulty continued in the IPL, with the Mumbai opener struggling to either score runs or bat at a higher clip.

If the ‘slump’ continues, then there is no guarantee that things will brighten up at the World Cup even if India play on a flat wicket.

SHIKHAR DHAWAN

Matches: 6, Runs: 152, Avg: 25.33, SR: 116.03

The other half of India’s white-ball opening pair is clearly struggling at the moment.

Brought in by Delhi Capitals to strengthen their top order, the southpaw seems to have lost his spark with neither his footwork nor striking abilities inspiring confidence.

His Capitals opening partner Prithvi Shaw, however, has looked like a million dollars whenever he has spent time at the crease. And that will only add more pressure on Shikhar going forward as the teenager is likely to take his spot in the Indian white-ball team soon.

Also, Kings XI Punjab opener KL Rahul has scored three fifties already this season and although his strike rate is 122, Rahul looks a lot more assured at the crease and could take Dhawan’s spot at the World Cup.

VIRAT KOHLI

Matches: 6, Runs: 203, Avg: 33.83, SR: 126.08

The Royal Challengers Bangalore captain is having a horror time as a leader and less so as a batsman.

The runs are coming, but nowhere near the rate at which it should, especially given the travails of his hapless team.

While the best ODI batsman in the world should be able to churn out the runs at the World Cup, his low strike rate – compared to that of fellow struggler AB de Villiers (157) – shows Kohli is consuming balls at the crease at a time when batsmen like Russell and Hardik Pandya are smashing it all over the park.

AMBATI RAYUDU

Ambati Rayudu.

Ambati Rayudu.

Matches: 5, Runs: 55, Avg: 13.75, SR: 77.46

He was declared the long-term India No4 ODI batsman by captain Kohli, but has since struggled to cement his position.

His IPL form for Chennai Super Kings has been poor, to say the least. Not only has he been unable to get any runs under his belt, Rayudu has also failed to change gears.

If his issues continue in the IPL, the India team management will have second thoughts about putting him in the crucial No4 position in a tournament like the World Cup.

DINESH KARTHIK

Matches: 5, Runs: 72, Avg: 24, SR: 128.57

Another batsman fighting for a spot in the World Cup squad.

The experienced Kolkata Knight Riders wicketkeeper batsman has failed to replicate his good form in international T20 cricket in the IPL.

With Rishabh Pant batting in overdrive, it will be very difficult for Karthik to enjoy the confidence of the Indian management, even if the official statement says the IPL won’t be considered for final selection.

THE BRIGHT SPOTS

MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings): Matches: 5, Runs: 156, Avg: 156, SR: 124.8

Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals): Matches: 6, Runs: 176, Avg: 35.20, SR: 172.54

Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians): Matches:5, Runs: 102, Avg: 34, SR: 178.94

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