There were plenty of ebbs and flows throughout England’s tour of India but eventually, the hosts tamed the Three Lions in all three formats as the India vs England ODI series ended 2-1.
The series went down to the wire to the last over as T Natarajan kept his nerves and stopped Sam Curran from pulling off a tremendous heist. There wasn’t much riding on this series given the fact the next 50-over World Cup is in 2023. Nevertheless, the cricket on display was breathtaking and gave us plenty of things to talk about.
Here are the five major talking points from the India vs England ODI series.
RISHABH PANT IS HERE TO STAY
The past five months seems to have been career-defining for Rishabh Pant as the southpaw has proven that his game has evolved and he is a genuine match-winner on his day. His career before India’s tour of Australia seemed in limbo as the team management didn’t trust Pant enough and believed that he had been given enough opportunities to prove his mettle. When the chance came Pant’s way, the wicketkeeper-batsman grasped it with both his hands much like he is grasping every ball behind the stumps now.
Pant started this ODI series on the bench but after Shreyas Iyer’s injury in the first ODI, he became an option straightaway. He didn’t disappoint either and played exactly the way the team needed its middle-order batsman to bat in order to match England’s aggressive brand of cricket. He would be gutted to have missed out on two potential centuries but that’s the way Rishabh plays, it’s always team first and personal objectives later. He finished the series with 155 runs in two innings with a remarkable strike rate of 151.96.
DEBUTANTS MAKE AN INSTANT IMPACT
Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna were handed the caps in the first ODI itself and the two debutants showed why they belonged to the highest level. They were match-winners in the first ODI and played a crucial role in winning the match by 66 runs.
Krunal was outstanding with the bat and finished with the fastest 50 on debut by any batsman in ODI cricket. Prasidh had a difficult start with the ball but soon turned it around in his second spell. He finished the match with 4/54 which is the best figure by an Indian bowler on debut.
SHARDUL THE WICKET-TAKER
Over the past year or so, Shardul Thakur has emerged as a genuine wicket-taking option for India in all three formats. He has the uncanny ability to pick wickets in clusters and change the situation of the match. He is a gambler with the ball and tries plenty of variations in one over itself. The batters try to target him and in doing so give their wickets away to the Mumbai fast bowler.
Shardul was India’s highest wicket-taker in the T20Is and followed that up with 7 wickets in the ODIs as well. His 4/67 and 30 off 20 balls in the series decider was crucial for the team and he should have been awarded the Man of the Match Award in that match.
NEED TO RE-THINK THE ODI APPROACH
In conditions that are tailor-made for batting, India fell short of making it big in the first innings. 336 was the highest India managed in this series in the second ODI and England went on to comfortably chase that in 43.3 overs. In the third ODI, when the team played with intent from ball one we bundled out in the 48th over.
The middle-over phase needs to be looked at especially when the opposition spinners are bowling in tandem. In this phase, India usually struggles to put their foot on the accelerator and put the spinners under pressure. If India wants to be real contenders for the 2023 World Cup then they need to address this problem and look at integrating players like Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan or Shubman Gill in the middle-order to give the team the impetus it requires.
THE DEAD-BALL RULE NEEDS ADDRESSING
Twice in the series we came across a situation where the umpire signed out on a LBW decision while the batting team scored some runs in that situation. The decision was then reviewed by the batsman and the third umpire deemed it not out. The ball was called dead post the decision and the batting team weren’t awarded the runs they made off that delivery.
Now imagine a similar situation on the last ball of a World Cup final. There will be outrage if a team loses because of this discrepancy in the rule the ICC seriously needs to look at addressing this issue. The batsman should be able to complete the run and then the decision should be taken by the on-field umpire. If the decision is overturned then runs should be awarded to the batting team, it seems like a no-brainer.
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