India won their 5th straight series and their 3rd straight overseas. Looking at such a record it would seem that India has no issues but that’s not the case with the Indian team right now. Both Gary Kirsten and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will know that they have lots to think about in the coming two months. The record of Dhoni has been brilliant since he has taken over the captaincy. Except for the bad performance in the T20 WC, the Indian team has had a great year and a half.
They have won away ODI series in Australia, New Zealand and Srilanka (Twice) and won a test series in NZ. They also beat Australia and England at home and drew a series against the South Africans. They are sitting pretty at the number 3 spot in both forms of the game which is fantastic and the current scrappy series win adds to that brilliant record of Dhoni as a captain.
Even though Dhoni has an envious record as a captain he will know that things are only going to get tough. After the World T20 the picture has become little bit hazy for the Indian team. The team which had brilliant youngsters just few months ago is now questioning their talent at the big stage. The recall of Rahul Dravid in the probable’s for the Champions trophy reflects the state of mind of the selectors at the moment.
The English and the West Indian bowlers peppered the Indian youngsters with the short pitched stuff and they had no answers to counter the same. The same continued in the short series in the WI. If not for some individual brilliance India might have lost this series. Yuvraj in the first game and Dhoni in the third game saved the day for the Indians. Rohit Sharma has been struggling and for me needs a break from International cricket for some time. He needs to play more cricket at the domestic level and work on his inadequacies. The same goes for the other Indian youngsters.
If Rahul Dravid does get selected for the Champions trophy it will be a huge step backward for the Indian team. Even though it is a huge step back,the selection in itself cannot be questioned after the performance of the Indian youngsters in the World T20 and WI series. Jadeja needs to go and I am not sure if he will ever make it back to the Indian team. Karthik’s performance in the WI will also put a lot of pressure on the selectors when Sachin and Sehwag come back. Badri needs to get a chance in the middle order and so does Murali Vijay. Both of them are technically sound would be adding the much needed solidity for the Indian batting.
How long are we going to rely on Sachin at the top of the order? He probably has couple of years of cricket left in him and the youngsters need to show that they can take over the mantle. Raina and other youngsters can make use of this time off to work on their game. They need to figure out a way to effectively handle the short pitched stuff. The word travels pretty fast in the cricketing circles and I am sure that when India play in the champions trophy the youngsters will be tested again.
The bowling also needs some work but the return of Nehra to form will be good for the Indians. Ishant has to work on his variations, Harbajan has to control his faster ones and RP Singh needs to get back his zing. India would also be happy with Piyush Chawla’s fantastic all round performance for Sussex in the county cricket. He might find his way back to the team.
But all the issues aside this has been another good series win for the Indians and another overseas one. The team will be enjoying the welcome break from cricket but they will know that they have a tough season ahead.