The Indian cricket team was flying high after a win against Australia at home and the whitewash in the 5-match T20I series against hosts New Zealand. On the contrary, the Kiwis returned the favor for the Indians with a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series.
Despite several shortcomings that are open to criticism within the Indian team, there are a lot of positives to look at, looking at this short ODI series. Here, we look at some of them.
The End of the Number 4 Conundrum
Shreyas Iyer’s magnificent record at number four surely silenced all critics around the world regarding the perennial number four issue in the Indian lineup.
Iyer smashed three consecutive scores of above fifty and brought up his maiden ODI ton at Hamilton. Albeit, in a losing cause, Iyer has had a series to remember with scores of 103, 52, and 62.
The Gift of KL Rahul
KL Rahul offers a multi-dimensional asset to the Indian lineup with his wicket-keeping and explosive finishing abilities. Rahul now has three impressive knocks at number 5, which makes one less issue to worry about for the Indian team.
Also, he provides a dependable quality behind the wickets, even in the 50-over game, proving his fitness levels and fatigue limits. Thereby, answering his critics.
Settled batting order
KL Rahul at number 5, Iyer at 4 makes the Indian lineup as solid as ever, with the presence of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the top of the order.
Also, the ‘fragile middle order’ was strain-tested during pressure situations, by quality opposition in conditions far from home.
Sometimes, one had a feeling that quality at the Top 3 of the Indian line-up was responsible for the undercooked middle-order at crunch situation, which has a tendency to capitulate.
Saini’s all-round abilities
Navdeep Saini’s new-found batting abilities make the brittle lower-order more rigid. His valiant knock at Auckland almost took India to the cusp of an improbable victory.
His knock displays the heart the Karnal-lad possesses which forced the whole Indian camp for a standing ovation, displaying the winning spirit within the young team.
Ravindra Jadeja, for the second time against New Zealand in seven months, took the Indian team to victory from a precariously placed situation. The all-rounder always provides economical spells of bowling with wickets to add immense value to the team, in the field as well with the bat.
His contribution to the team goes highly unnoticed and he has proved that the Indian team is indispensable without his services.
Wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal made his comeback in the ODI outfit after the West Indies series last year, post World Cup. Since then, he was chosen only in the T20Is. After the Kuldeep Yadav battering at Hamilton, Chahal impressed one and all with his couple of spells in 2nd and the 3rd ODI.
Chahal looked unplayable on occasions and clinched six wickets in the last two games of the series at a reasonable economy. He, thus, becomes an important entity for the next ODI ventures of India.