Krishnamachari Srikkanth believes India should prioritize giving chances to young talent to fill in the vacuum in the fragile middle-order following the table-toppers shock World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand on Wednesday.
Virat Kohli's men were outclassed by a quality seam bowling display from the Black Caps as they were condemned to an 18-run loss whilst chasing a modest target of 240.
The subsequent middle-order batsmen were able to get starts but failed to carry on before a valiant contribution from Ravindra Jadeja helped India get close to New Zealand's total but his efforts could not prove to be enough.
"We're still struggling to get the right middle order combination," the 1983 World Cup winner Srikkanth wrote for the ICC Media column.
"Rishabh Pant is good but at number five we need to find someone as we've tried too many people there.
"We've tried Dinesh Karthik, we've tried Jadeja, we've tried Vijay Shankar, three guys have been tried and they've not proved useful so maybe we can find a good youngster for No.5."
Matt Henry spearheaded New Zealand's bowling charge with a match-winning spell of 3-37 earning him the player of the match award.
Following India's initial collapse, Pant provided some stability as he mustered a spirited 32 only to mistime a slog to the man at the boundary off the bowling of Mitchell Santner.
Srikkanth was critical of the approach of the Indian batsmen against Santner, who also accounted for the wicket of Hardik Pandya.
"I also thought Mitchell Santner bowled brilliantly, but India gave him too much respect," said Srikkanth.
"They should have played more positively against Santner. When I say positively, that doesn't mean hitting out, it's showing some sort of positivity against Santner, putting him under pressure."