India has reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup mainly due to their bowlers and the performance of Virat Kohli. The top order has failed repeatedly and Suresh Raina at four has had a horrible run which has constantly put India’s middle-order under pressure. While Kohli has stepped up during high-pressured games against Pakistan and Australia to bail India out, the other batsmen need to fire if India is going to win the world cup.
While MS Dhoni has been against the idea of changing a winning side, his openers have not fired and the selectors might have to make a decision to override the captain and make a couple of changes. Sharma has done well in Australia and might get one more opportunity against the West Indies on the 31st of March but Dhawan could lose his place to A Rahane.
While Rahane is more a touch player, he can get the ball to the boundary once he gets set. He is also the best slip-fielder that India has and it could be a crucial move that also sends a strong message to R Sharma. S Raina has not only lacked consistency in his batting but his fielding standards have decreased while his weight has increased. While Dhoni has used him as a part time bowler on a couple of occasions, Raina is not pulling his weight in the team anymore.
M Pandey who has not had a hit so far could be his replacement. Pandey is an excellent fielder, a good runner between wickets and someone who can score quickly. However Raina might get another chance against the West Indies, especially if Yuvraj Singh is forced to sit out due to the ankle injury he sustained in the match against the Australians. If Yuvraj is out, Dhoni will prefer to have Raina in the side due to his experience and bring in Rahane or Pandey for Yuvraj.
Dhoni has gone on record to say that the Indian batting line-up is firing only at 65 percent excluding Kohli. The decision to either drop Dhawan, Sharma and Raina or keep them in the side could end up being the difference between India being knocked out or becoming T20 World Champions for the second time. While the selectors are highly unlikely to drop all three in the next match, not making any change could prove to be India’s downfall.