Mumbai: India might have sailed into the cricket World Cup quarterfinals with five straight wins but former chief selector Kiran More on Friday said the team's middle-order batting is an area that still requires improvement.
More felt the side needed to iron out weak links in the middle-order batting before the mega event's knock-out stage kicks off.
"I feel the middle-order has to bat well. Get more partnerships. We have been getting partnerships from the top three, so the middle order also has to get partnerships. They just can't throw away the wickets because a lot of pressure comes on the lower order batsmen. That is what we saw against West Indies in a couple of matches ago. That is the concern area," More said.
The former India stumper felt associate members should get more opportunities to play against the top sides to improve their game and make the sport more global.
"A lot of the top teams don't play the minnows. I feel India should travel to Ireland or the other top teams like South Africa should play against them, that is how we will develop cricket," More said at the book launch of 'World Cup Heroes' written by journalist Chandresh Narayanan.
He added, "Otherwise 12 countries play and we say we are playing a World Cup. That is why I rate Saina Nehwal's performance greater than any of the cricketer's performance.
160 countries play Badminton and to be in the top two of the world is a great achievement.
"We should help these minnows. Ireland Scotland, UAE they should get more matches."
The former India stumper hoped Ireland would get Test status for their impressive performances over the years.
"I think Ireland will get it. They have been doing very well," he said.
More said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been his hero for leading the side from the front.
"I feel the captain is playing a bigger role. He is the main hero for us and the way he has carried our team (after the tri-series debacle). Of course Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan have been outstanding.
"One surprise package who has come through is Shami. He has been a solid hero for us. He has played a bigger role because he is getting early wickets. Dhoni has been leading from the front and for me he is the number one hero," he said.
"A lot of people were talking about Shikhar Dhawan should not be part of the Indian team in World Cup. I think that is why my hero is Dhoni. He trusted him. That is what is the bast part of Dhoni. He trusts players and he believes in them that these guys are going to deliver it," he added.
More lauded Dhawan's performance in the World Cup after having gone through a rough patch.
"Shikhar has been outstanding. He had done well in ODIs previously and Test matches also. Every cricketer goes through a phase where you don't do well but the way he has come back has shows the greatness about the player and he showed that character. I hope he scores more runs in the upcoming matches and wins the World Cup for India," he said.
The Baroda man praised off-spinner R Ashwin's performance too in the World Cup and said, "There are too many left-handers in world cricket. Ashwin is playing a very crucial role and he is bowling superbly and he has changed a bit of line and I feel that he is at the top and he is at his best form.
"After the Test matches he got a break and that has helped him. I think he is a very studious guy and he reads the game well. That is why he has come back very strongly and that is his greatness as a bowler."
India will face Bangladesh in the quarter-finals and More backed the defending champions to win against their lesser fancied neighbours.
"Any team when it comes to the knock-out stage, it is mentally strong. Of course you are the top team and you are doing very well but anybody can upset you on the day.
Bangladesh is playing very well, they are doing very well in all department.
"There is definitely going to be pressure on Bangladesh because Indian team is going to be the top team. Under that pressure, I think Bangladesh would crumble. I feel as an Indian we should win the match but overall, Bangladesh have played outstanding cricket. If India is going to score 275 in every match then they will win the match and win the finals," he said.