The three-match ODI series have been… predictable! That’s the word. Such has been India’s dominance in recent years that anything other than a thumping win seems humiliating. Rohit Sharma had no qualms in handling a talented Indian side and his ex-captain Virat Kohli. Well, even though both the cricketers have displayed their professionalism all the time and also had each other’s back in front of the media. But you can’t help but feel a strange sensation between them.
It might be discomfort, rivalry, or just another speculation, but one thing is clear, there is tension in the Indian camp. On the other hand, their rivals West Indies are jubilant, even after losing the series. They have got a clear understanding of their weakness and are also looking forward to the T20 series, a format they love the most. India’s resounding white-wash has brought a load of points to be discussed. So, let’s look at five emerging points from the series.
5. India’s Middle-Order Emergence:
If there’s a good thing we have seen from the top-order collapse, it is that the middle-order has stepped up. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been the core of Indian batting for nearly a decade. Both the greats have single-handedly chased down significant scores with ease. Both have rarely failed to deliver, but whenever they failed, India has fallen. But this series proved India’s isn’t just about Sharma or Kohli, as India’s so-called ‘fragile’ middle-order has shown extreme resistance.
KL Rahul’s demotion in the no.4 spot has seen him play more freely. But the find of the series has been Suryakumar Yadav. The Mumbai batsman has scored 104 runs, the highest of the series. SKY has played with dynamism and stability throughout the three innings. SKY has shown glimpses of what he can offer. Surya can bat at 3,4, or 5 and provides a few overs of off-break bowling.
Rishabh Pant has been his inconsistent self once again, but this time he fired when he was required to. His 56 from the last ODI has shown that Pant can anchor the game and fire when needed. If he builds upon that, it can lead to him finding his ideal role in the midst of pressuring situations. Pushing KL down the order has strengthened middle-order, which shows India’s development towards the 2023 World Cup.
4. West Indies fightback and looming Batsmen problem:
Despite being on the receiving end of whitewash, West Indies had a lot to look forward to. Even if they couldn’t force a win, they fought back not to accept a straight-away loss. India’s masterful bowling has forced West Indies to surrender, but they didn’t accept it just like that. At times, they threatened to take away the momentum, but the ever-reliable bowling line-up never allowed that. It all sums up the lack of contribution from the batting unit.
Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph’s inclusion in the top 3 run-getters for West Indies sums up that batters just grazed around the pitch. Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Sharma Brooks, and Brandon King were on the list of professional batters on the squad list. But none of them except Pooran breached past the 60-run mark. If this is how it will go, West Indies, in no manner can put a strong contention in the 2023 WC.
3. A Stable Opener in Ishan Kishan?
After demoting KLR to no.4, India has a task on its hands. Within the next 18 months, they have to develop an opener who can battle alongside Rohit Sharma and also steady the ship in his absence. While the Indian side is blessed with a certain Shikhar Dhawan, who coincidentally ticks all the boxes, it’s good to have a backup or two just in case.
The names which come forward are young and talented Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Ruturaj has been splendid in IPL 2021, while Ishan Kishan offers a handy left-right combination. Ruturaj is still a name to consider, as he doesn’t have any experience yet, but Ishan Kishan has proved himself a bit. If groomed well, Ishan and Ruturaj can effortlessly propel the Indian side to complete dominance in any condition.
2. A New Ray of Hope in Bowling Department:
Resting critical players like Shami and Bumrah in the home could have always backfired, and it did. But, surprisingly, in the absence of stalwarts stood young blood in confidence. Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, and Mohammed Siraj have performed magnificently in the ODI series. Other than that, Yuzvendra Chahal’s back-to-form performances have boosted his chances to earn a spot in the WC squad. Washington Sundar yet again provided important breakthroughs, and his contributions might be outclassed, but they were consistent. Selectors have a massive headache selecting a squad from now on.
1. Is everything all right?
While India might have won the series, there are unsafe waters ahead. The whitewash doesn’t indicate that India has won their matches by a shred of hair. It led to other unchartered departments to step up. But was it supposed to be like that? No! India was expected to dominate a relatively weak Windies side. There were mistakes from everyone from here and there, but the magnum opus was taken by Virat Kohli. You heard that right.
Virat Kohli is one of the finest batsmen India has ever produced. Such are his achievements that even his talents are overshadowed. Kohli’s consistency and his ever-present brilliance are just remarkable. You might love or hate him, but you recognize him as the face of Indian Cricket. But what has happened to India’s strongest pillar?
Virat Kohli was nothing short of embarrassment in the series. Our choice of words may be harsh, but such returns aren’t expected from someone who is expected to surpass the genius of Sachin Tendulkar. It has nothing to do with baseless allegations of a rift between him and Rohit Sharma.
Both are treating the recent outcomings as normal and getting along as usual. Virat has looked clueless in this series, and it might have something to do with his personal life. In the last five years, Virat never looked this vulnerable. If this was just a one-shot, it’s good, but if this form stretches long, India is in for a lot of uninvited trouble.