At the start of this series, I felt that, for the first time, England were starting on even terms against India as Dhoni didn't have the services of quite a few big names. It was an opportunity for the youngsters to show they were maturing to slowly take over the mantle from their seniors. At the end of the five-match one-day series, the youngsters deserve all the kudos for completely outplaying England. They now have to carry this hope outside the country to make a statement to the world that Indian cricket is hale and hearty and that the debacle in England was just a one-off thing.
India had a poor outing in the Test series in England but in the one-day series, they definitely fared much better and were unlucky not to win a few matches, mainly due to rain and poor bowling. At least, they were never outplayed the way the touring England team has been. The Indian bowling in the recently concluded series looked sharper and had control and variation to confuse the English batsmen so much that they looked like a bunch of novices. England's display in all three departments left much to be desired.
England has never been a great team in sub-continent conditions, but Cook and company this time around looked totally out of sorts against both seam and spin. They tend to move too much inside the crease to set themselves up for shot-making and also play spinners across the line, which hampers their run-scoring ability. For captain Cook, as the series showed, he needs to be more innovative. Pietersen and Bopara surely disappointed.
Dhoni once again showed what a champion he is in one-day format. He seems to have settled down in the No 6 slot and is finishing off games or setting up totals for the team with his power hitting.
Handle talent carefully
The Indian team management will have to start dealing with the talent available much more judiciously. They will have to carefully handle Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron and nurture them for the future. India also need to take care of Virat Kohli as the young man has it in him to deliver at the top level. Also R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja could develop into match-winners in the one-day format.
India take on England in the last match of the tour on Saturday in the shortest format of the game. I am sure the stands at the Eden Gardens will have a fuller look than the one-day match.
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(The writer is a commentator and has a contract with the PUNE IPL team)