So, another overseas tour for the Indian Cricket team is at an end. Well, not exactly. We still have two T20’s to look forward to. Or maybe, ‘look forward to’ is pushing it. The three one-day internationals between Zimbabwe and India came and went with hardly any hype or noise (great job, Ten Sports), so much so that anyone can be excused for thinking that India sent its ‘B’ team to an inconsequential tour. That was not exactly the case however, as India sent a more-or-less bench-strength testing team, the same as it did last time when the Virat Kohli-led team thrashed Zimbabwe 5-0.
Now that the BCCI’s ‘humanitarian’ tour to an inconsequential cricket-playing nation is almost at an end, it is really time to assess how well the men in blue did in Zimbabwe. Not that it matters. Fat chance many of these guys will find themselves in the actual Indian squad.
Rahane’s woes as Captain
Fine batsman as he is, Rahane provided fuel to the fire ignited by Dhoni last month that he had issues rotating the strike. Dogged down by a laborious strike rate and a lack of valuable runs, Rahane was simply overwhelmed by the added responsibility as skipper, a responsibility he never blossomed under (Very unlike a certain Virat Kohli).
Same goes with Murali Vijay, who needed to approach this series as an ODI batsman and not as a Test batsman.
The rest of the batting was shoddy, to say the least. Manoj Tiwari was abysmal, and so was the once-fancied Robin Uthappa (who didn’t do any good to his chances post Dhoni’s retirement).
Performers of the series
Ambati Rayadu was in great touch, his batting having come a long way since the captain refused him strike in England. He was instrumental in both the opening matches, and as was Stuart Binny who did well with both the bat and ball (Maybe we can finally replace ‘Sir’ Jadeja). Jadhav and Pandey did well for their innings in the last ODI, but the question of whether they can continue with it is tough to answer.
The bowling surprisingly overshadowed much of the batting though. Led by the resurgent Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (who was unlucky to not play the World Cup), and a wily Harbhajan Singh, India did well to restrict the Zimbabwean batsmen below a score, below-par by their own standards.
The first T20 between India and Zimbabwe is on this Friday. As a cricket-person myself, I won’t probably tune in to watch it. Or maybe, just check the scores occasionally. After all, for how long can we stay away from cricket? In any case, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is less than excited at the prospect of the match. Other than Rahane, Binny, Vijay and Kumar, hardly anyone else has a chance to make the squad next month when India tours Sri Lanka. Oh, didn’t anyone know? Yes, India is touring Sri Lanka next month. Now, I’m not saying that Sri Lanka is a weak opponent but, seeing India beat the crap out of them every time they meet for a match is getting boring and frankly, humiliating. As the great Sangakkara’s last series, I really hope he gets a befitting swansong.
Go watch the T20 series, not on HD (Thank you again, Ten Sports). Or keep track of the scores, and support the men in blue either way. Some may even watch it to cure their IPL meltdowns (So much for whistle-podu, eh?). And others may just watch it, excited at the prospect of their team finally doing well (Not you, Delhi). As for me, I look forward to refreshing my webpage and keeping track of the score while I wait for India vs. Sri Lanka to begin this August.