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Bangladesh vs India ODIs – Blunt in the middle

While it is true that India is trialling a huge group of players, the manner of their defeats in Bangladesh will falter as their inexperienced bowling attack had left them on the brink of victory in the first two ODIs, despite losing the coin toss in both.

Defending only 186 in the series opener, India had reduced the hosts’ tally to 136 for 9 before Mehidy Hasan Miraz recorded a one-wicket miraculous victory. Three days later, India had Bangladesh 69 for 6 at bats first but Mehidy thwarted them again with a sensational 100 off 83 balls to become only the second batsman to score a century at number 8 in ODIs.

The double failures may not have exposed India’s strategies per se as they are far from full strength with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja injured, but it is a wake up call as their focus shifts from T20Is to ODIs ahead to the World next year. Cup. Does India have enough attack options through the middle overs? The fields for the home World Cup can be unforgiving for bowlers during the mid-overs as conditions ease, as they did this week in Dhaka, adding even more responsibility to bowling teams to try and break partnerships.

That is what happened in the second ODI after the initial swing and seam movement eased, and Mehidy and Mahmudullah started playing with more ease, breaking the record for Bangladesh’s highest partnership against India. Their seventh wicket stand of 148 started in 20th place and only finished in 47th.

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The middle overs of ODIs – overs 11 to 40 – have been a problem for India for some time. They have the highest economy in that phase since the start of 2020 – 5.56, compared to 4.92 in New Zealand and 5.04 in Australia. Even for ODIs at home over the same period, India’s economy of 5.76 in the middle overs is only better than England’s and South Africa’s. While England may have the clout to make up for any extra conceded points, the same cannot be said of India or most of the other teams at the moment.

After losing in the second ODI on Wednesday, Indian captain Rohit Sharma said their bowling in the middle overs was a problem they had to address, and they had to do it quickly.

“From 70 for 6, allowing them to get 270-odd was not a great effort from our bowlers,” said Rohit after the match. “We started really well, and the middle overs and the back end is something that hurts a little bit. That happened in the first game and today as well. It’s something we need to realize quickly because we don’t have too much time [before the next World Cup]we need to focus on what we need to do as individuals and give them that specific role to come forward and do it.

After the Bangladesh tour, India has three ODI series (also T20Is and Tests) at home against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, starting in January and ending before the IPL. These nine ODIs – three against each team – are a chance to try and identify their best bowlers for the middle overs in home conditions, then get them ready for the World Cup.

As of 2020, India’s top wicket takers in the middle overs are Shardul Thakur (26 wickets at 25.15 each), Yuzvendra Chahal (22 at 32.31 each), Kuldeep Yadav (17 at 47), Prasidh Krishna (16 at 22.31) and Washington Zondag ( 10 at 10:20 pm). Thakur has been a regular in the ODI team lately while Chahal is the front runner among the spinners but India is also seriously considering Kuldeep Yadav as he did not play a match on the New Zealand tour and was omitted from the ODI team team in Bangladesh? Washington is another promising option vying for the spin all-rounder spot, along with Jadeja and Axar Patel.

Looking at the Indian bowlers with the best economic rates in the middle overs of ODIs since 2020, Mohammed Siraj (4.89) leads the way, followed by Prasidh (5.14), Avesh Khan (5.26), Bumrah ( 5.34) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5.47). ). Avesh has now fallen behind in the pecking order and Bhuvneshwar has barely played any ODIs this year, making Siraj and Prasidh, who are currently injured, the best pace options in the middle overs.

Coach Rahul Dravid was disappointed that India has been plagued by injuries lately, but he hopes he can choose from a fully fit team in the new year. And when the likes of Jadeja, Shami, Prasidh and Bumrah get back to fitness, India has plenty of opportunities to refine their best combination.

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“Hopefully from January – depending on injuries – we will have a full team around and something we will definitely look at,” said Dravid after the series defeat in Bangladesh. “The chance to see how we can take wickets in the middle. I thought we did well today but there was a phase where we let that partnership build. So good lessons for us in these games especially in these kind of circumstances Bangladesh is used to and playing very well in. Obviously once we get to pick from our full squad in January we can hopefully look to address all of these issues.

India’s second-tier strike have one more game in Bangladesh to show what they can do before the battle for places heats up early next year.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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