India's experiment of resting skipper Rohit Sharma and star batter Virat Kohli backfired badly as the visitors suffered a crushing six-wicket defeat to the West Indies in the second ODI on Saturday.
The middle-order batters failed to cope with pace, bounce and turn, getting all-out for 181 in 40.5 overs in the rain-marred game. In reply, West Indies survived a lively spell from Shardul Thakur before skipper Shai Hope (63 not out) and young Keacy Carty (48 not out) added 91 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket to close the game in 36.4 overs.
The defeat was India's fifth in their last six ODIs, and it has raised serious questions about their approach and attitude in the shorter formats of the game.
Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad was particularly critical of the team's performance, saying that they had become "used to celebrating mediocrity".
"Test cricket aside, India has been very ordinary in the other two formats for quite sometime now," Prasad wrote on Twitter. "Lost odi series against ban, SA and Aus. Poor in the last two T20 World Cups.
"Neither are we an exciting team like England nor brutal like how the Aussies used to be. Despite the money and power, we have become used to celebrating mediocrity and are far from how champion sides are. Every team plays to win and so does India but their approach and attitude is also a factor for underperformance over a period of time."
Prasad's comments are a timely reminder that India need to address their issues in the shorter formats if they want to be successful at the highest level. The upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia is just around the corner, and India will need to be at their best if they want to win the trophy.
The team will need to find a way to get their middle-order firing, and they will also need to be more aggressive in their approach. If they can do that, they will be a force to be reckoned with in Australia.
What next for India?
India have a few weeks to prepare for the T20 World Cup, and they will need to use that time wisely. They need to find a way to get their middle-order firing, and they will also need to be more aggressive in their approach.
The team has the talent to be successful, but they need to show that they are willing to work hard and put in the effort. If they can do that, they will be a force to be reckoned with in Australia.