Sanjay Bangar: Batting collapse in Hamilton an aberration

Sanjay Bangar, India’s assistant coach, reposes faith in the middle-order ahead of the fifth and One-Day International.

India was bowled out for 92 in Hamilton on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Sanjay Bangar, India’s assistant coach, believes India’s batting collapse in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand — it was bowled out for 92 for an eight-wicket defeat — was an aberration, and that the middle-order will come good.

Ahead of the fifth ODI here on Sunday, he said, “The middle-order has rose to the occasion many times and delivered. Yes some situations have been trying but it is not that the middle-order hasn’t performed. When required, more often than not whenever it has been put in a situation, it has delivered, may be the last game was an aberration,” he said.

He added, “If they (the top-order batsmen) are batting well then the middle-order doesn’t get the opportunity required to maintain the groove.”

“It is also one of those series where our top-order hasn’t got a hundred, so it has given a lot of time to the middle-order to go out there and play situations and they have finished games when they have got an opportunity,” Bangar pointed out.

‘One-off game’

On Thursday, India’s batting line-up, without captain Virat Kohli and M. S. Dhoni, crumbled against Trent Boult’s devastating spell. Bangar said such games help the team reflect on what it can do better. “It was an one-off game for us. We know we played well below our potential and our expected levels. The boys realise it, and we just need to put that game behind and look to the next game,” he said.

The team management is trying to maintain a balance in terms of rotating players, says Sanjay Bangar (left). Photo: Akhilesh Kumar


“It gives us an opportunity to reflect in case if we miss out players due to fitness issues. World Cup will be a long tournament; there will be injuries and players are going to miss out and it gives us a reflection as to how players will cope in their absence. We were found wanting in that situation in the last game. But they are quality players; even in the third game, Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu had stitched a partnership of 82 to finish the game, so we can’t really draw too many conclusion after [the] one-odd failure,” he reasoned.

Rotating players

The team management was trying to rotate the players to give everyone some game time, according to Bangar. “We are trying to balance out opportunities, trying to keep them hot and give them enough game time. This is a conscious effort, specially in Australia and here where we have rotated our players. There are going to be time where a player doesn’t get five-six games on a row, so we are trying to make that balance. In the number of games that we had we have made sure that everybody is getting some sort of hit by rotating the players around,” he said.

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Looking ahead to the World Cup, Bangar said: “Probably the selectors have got that list down to 20. Most of them are going to be part of the World Cup squad and we have assessed potential of [a] lot of players. Selectors are also watching intently and going forward, we will settle into a nice team which covers all bases.”

After the ODI series, India takes on New Zealand in a three-game T20I series, beginning on Wednesday here.