India began the Virat Kohli era in triumphant fashion, clinching the three-match ODI series 2-1 on Sunday. The game at the Eden Gardens might have been lost, but it was the kind of loss which you as an Indian fan will not feel too heart broken about the defeat.
Here are 5 Positives for India from the series:0
Emergence of Kedar Jadhav
Prior to the start of the ODI series, India were looking to fill in the gap at the Number Six spot, considering that MS Dhoni was looking to bat higher up the order. They had couple of options in that regard in the form of Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey.
They tried the former in the opening game at Pune and he proved to be a great selection as with skipper Kohli, Jadhav helped India achieve what seemed an improbable target when joined him in the middle at 63 for 4.
Employing an uncomplicated approach, Jadhav got to his second ODI ton and due to his exceptional innings of 90 runs from 75 balls in the 3rd ODI, which almost helped India pull off a sensational win, he has almost certainly confirmed a berth for himself in the Champions Trophy squad.
Hardik Pandya- the answer to India’s seam bowling allrounder headache
One of the things that Dhoni craved for during his stint as captain for a seam-bowling allrounder and he often admitted that he tried to fit in Ravindra Jadeja in that role, even though he was far from one.
Last year, India found a candidate who if kept faith in could develop into a reliable seam bowling all-rounder.
Hardik Pandya was selected last year in the T20I leg of India’s tour to Australia and while he did an okay job, many felt he still was a raw product.
In this England series, he showed in 12 months time, he showed that had improved by leaps and bounds both with ball and bat, as was seen in the Kolkata ODI and he will hope to continue putting in the hard yards and deliver consistently.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s death bowling skills
For a long time during Dhoni’s time at the top. The death bowling was a major cause of concern. However, in the past 12 months, India seem to have unearthed not one but two bowlers in that regard who have learnt how to cut the runs at the final stages of an innings.
It is often one hears that T20 cricket have helped in the development of skills, but in Bhuvi’s case, the format has helped him understand the trick behind bowling at the end as he himself admitted recently, that playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL has helped him improve his death bowling skills.
It augurs well for India that they are unearthing these cricketers who are delivering under pressure and hopefully when bigger occasions come they are at their best.
Yuvraj Singh solves the middle-order puzzle
A lot was spoken about the recall of a 35-year-old Yuvraj Singh and those against his inclusion felt further vindicated when he did not fire in the opening ODI in Pune.However, in Cuttack, he answered his critics in the only manner in which he could- by getting runs and what an innings it was.
A maiden 150 to get the hosts out of a tight spot and helping them reach a match-winning total of 381 for 6.
The knock had everything one associated with a normal Yuvi innings and for most, it was the best form of time travel they could have hoped for on a warm Thursday afternoon.
He backed that with an impressive 45 in the next ODI at Kolkata and a good T20I series that starts on Republic Day should be enough for him to confirm a berth for the Champions Trophy.
MS Dhoni shows old magic
History will provide us with many instances when players have taken a second wind once the responsibilities of leadership are taken away from them.
After flopping in Pune, Dhoni the batsman came good and how in Cuttack, putting on 256 with Yuvraj, en route to getting 134 on his own, which helped India recover from 25 for 3.
Kohli stressed recently he would like to see the Dhoni of the old now that he has relinquished the captaincy and it will be interesting if he would come higher up and deliver on a more consistent basis.