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New kids on the block Bumrah, Pandya strengthen Team India

After three games against Sri Lanka, it is clear that Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah have not only lived up to expectations but exceeded them to some degree. The performance in Australia surely wasn’t a one-off.

cricket Updated: Feb 16, 2016 09:13 IST
Kushal Phatarpekar
Kushal Phatarpekar
Hindustan Times
India vs Sri Lanka T20 series,MS Dhoni,Ravichandran Ashwin
Jasprit Bumrah has proved up to the task every time Dhoni has handed him the ball, especially in the death overs.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

A few weeks ago, India faced Australia in a three-match Twenty20 series following a dismal outing in the one-dayers. The ODI side had failed to instill confidence. The T20 series though comfortably went in India’s favour. A major role in the triumph could be attributed to the surprise success of youngsters Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya.

It was to be seen if the two could do a repeat in the series against Sri Lanka at home.

After three games here, it is clear that the duo has not only lived up to expectations but exceeded them to some degree. The performance in Australia surely wasn’t a one-off.

Through the series, like in Australia, skipper MS Dhoni depended on Bumrah, 22, for a spell in the death overs, an area India have struggled in for years now. The Gujarat-based player returned impressive figures each time.

Pandya, 22, too was handed additional responsibility. In the second game in Ranchi, he was promoted ahead of Dhoni and senior pro Yuvraj Singh. It was a major gamble, considering that India were chasing the three-match series. Pandya, like Bumrah, did not disappoint.

The success of Pandya and Bumrah has gone a long way in solidifying team composition, which was the aim of this T20 series to begin with. Their presence has allowed the skipper to use senior players smartly.

Now, Dhoni has at his disposal a young pacer who can man the death overs which gives him the option of utilising spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin early in the innings should the conditions so demand.

In Pandya, he has a bowler who can bowl out the middle overs and a batsman who can hit the big shots as soon as he comes in. These are qualities India desperately needed.

With the nuts and bolts falling into place, India’s line-up now seems to be more or less ready. With pacer Mohammad Shami set to join the squad, the bowling looks formidable.

The matter of batting in the lower-middle order, though, still remains. Dhoni and Yuvraj have yet to spend quality time in the middle. However, one will have to hope their vast experience would suffice to get them ready for the Asia Cup and World T20.

First Published: Feb 16, 2016 08:50 IST