The grit and application wasn’t there
India can still take home some positives despite their loss in the first game of the ODI series, and Pakistan will need to be cautious to seize the opportunity of having gone ahead in the series in order to win it.
It has been a well-contested series so far with lots of expectations still from both sides. But amidst all this, one can't help but point fingers at the ICC for its new set of rules introduced for the 50-over format. Cricket has always been a batsman's game and with the new set of rules, I believe, no one will like to become a bowler in the future.
The ICC is trying to protect the 50-over format from the impact of Twenty20, but my view is that, in trying to do so, they should not dilute the original 50-over format. And, if that is the case, the 50-over version might slowly be on its way out.
As for the match on Sunday, India proved their batting mettle once again. Any team will struggle to reach 200-plus after losing the first five wickets for 29 runs. Dhoni and Raina played the right type of cricket in that situation, which helped India reach a respectable total. Coming to the first five India dismissals, I will say that except for Rohit Sharma, the rest showed a casual and routine approach. The grit and application wasn't there. India were 29 for 5 in the first 12 overs compared to Pakistan's 24 for 1 and that was the difference between the two sides.
One more thing puzzles me. I know that captains should have the final say, but don't the Indian selectors ever question their skipper as to why he is going on playing with one regular bowler short? After Ashwin had made the impact, Dhoni had no choice but to turn to Virat Kohli. He could have had a stronger grip on the game, had he included Jadeja in the side.
Dhoni has depth in his batting line-up because of the way Ashwin is shaping up with the bat, but he lacks depth in the bowling department.
Pakistan have put up a good show so far, but I feel they need to be a bit more proactive and a bit more resolute to grab the opportunity of winning the series. The batting has depth but the fast bowlers are not getting their yorkers right. They couldn't reverse swing the ball in Chennai because of the wet outfield and I feel they need to find a way out to finish the innings better.
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(The writer is a former Pakistan captain)