India’s white-ball warriors have proved that the semi-final exit in the ICC Cricket World Cup was an aberration. They totally dominated in the white-ball leg of the Windies tour. We analyse the ODI and T20 series and find out what went right for India.
MS Dhoni, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, were given a breather after the WC campaign. Their replacements were more than up to the task — evidence that India’s bench strength is robust.
The T20 series’ highlight was the bowling attack. Deepak Chahar and debutant Navdeep Saini were all over the Windies batting. Their man-of-the-match winning exploits in the third and first T20 respectively were proof that India’s seam attack is now world-class. Chahar, in particular, was seemingly unplayable in the third T20. Despite making his debut appearance, Saini seemed ready for the world stage. It augurs well for India’s new-ball attack.
Krunal Pandya aced his role in the second T20. He helped India finish big and picked up vital wickets with his left-arm darts. Pandya now seems to be the first-choice spin-bowling allrounder — ahead of Ravindra Jadeja. He may well board the plane to Australia next year for the ICC T20 World Cup.
Rishabh Pant’s confident 65* in the third T20 seems to have made him the frontrunner to replace MS Dhoni — whenever he hangs up his gloves. He definitely packs a punch with the bat.
Even rain can’t stop King Kohli! Virat Kohli defeated both the Windies and the rains to carry India to a 2-0 triumph in the three-match ODI series. He was ably supported by Shreyas Iyer, who raked up two match-winning fifties. Iyer’s knock in the third ODI was fantastic. Coming in at No. 5, after Rishabh Pant’s horrendous first-ball dismissal, he steered the team to safe waters with Kohli.
Pant’s double failure makes Iyer the best choice for the ‘troubled’ No.4 spot. Iyer’s shot selection was spot-on, and he seems to be ready for India’s most contentious batting position in the last five odd years. Pant, on the other hand, perhaps needs to go down the order. Coming in with the license to shoot seems to be the best way to go for him.