Team India and West Indies battled out in a hard-fought ODI series last month in which the visitors, donning a second-string look with Shikhar Dhawan leading the side, came out trumps. But it could have swung the other way as well.
Team India won the first ODI by only 3 runs and on the last ball of the match with Mohammed Siraj tasked to defend 15 runs in the last over. In the second match, the hosts looked in command defending 312 before an Axar Patel blitz took India over the line with only 2 balls to spare. But the third ODI was a one-sided affair with India winning by 119 runs in a rain-curtailed encounter.
Here are three biggest positives for Team India from the series:
Shubman Gill stakes strong claim in ODI cricket
Gill was given the opportunity to open ahead of Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. And the 22-year-old returned the faith handsomely – finishing as the highest score of the series with 205 runs, stroking a couple of entertaining fifties with a best of 98* and bagged the Player of the Series award.
Post the 2023 ODI World Cup, Gill is likely to have more regular appearances in ODIs and become a first-choice opener in the format.
Shikhar Dhawan reminds everyone of his worth in ODI team
There were some doubts and questions raised about Shikhar Dhawan’s place in the ODI team when he looked rusty in the three ODIs in England. But he squashed those aside with ease in West Indies – finishing as the second-leading run-scorer of the series with 168 runs, with the help of two fifties and a best of 97.
His rustiness in England could be on the account of the fact that he hasn’t played international cricket regularly given he only features in the ODI team now and ODIs have been sidelined recently with Test and T20s being considered of importance.
But after the T20 World Cup later this year, India will shift their focus on the ODIs and play them more frequently. That will further give Dhawan much more game time in the build-up to the 2023 ODI World Cup at home where Dhawan will be a vital part of the side.
Axar Patel makes strong case for inclusion even in Ravindra Jadeja’s presence
Axar Patel has long been the backup for Ravindra Jadeja because of the similar characteristics they bring to the field. But now, Patel has made a strong case to be included in the ODI eleven irrespective of Jadeja’s presence.
Patel has slowly made himself a proper all-rounder with marked improvements in his lower-order batting – as evident from the brilliant 312 run-chase he made possible by smashing 64 runs off 35 balls.
Given the 2023 World Cup is at home on spin-assisting pitches, India won’t mind playing both Axar and Jadeja in the eleven, along with another spinner.