Two proud cricketing nations just concluded their limited series, with both needing to build towards both the T20 and ODI World Cups. India won both three-match series by 2-1 scorelines, but the West Indies would have been encouraged by their performances, particularly from the younger players.
So what did we take away from the tour?
ODI Cricket: India and the West Indies
1. Young batsmen give a platform for the West Indies
For years the Caribbean side has been searching for batsmen to take the fight to the opposition and make competitive totals and after a few years of investment, it seems that faith has payed off. Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope and Evin Lewis had all contributed at different times throughout the tour. In Hope, they have an opener that can be the foundation the batting can be built around, so the power hitters, the other three mentioned, in addition to captain Kieron Pollard and all-rounder Jason Holder can come in an “blast away”.
2. Iyer makes his case for the middle order of India.
Having previously batted at No. 5 , Shreyas Iyer was promoted to the vital No. 4 slot and made back-to-back half centuries. The Mumbai born man made them in contrasting ways though, as the first in Chennai was a 70 off 88 balls, while in Visakhapatnam, he carved out a magnificent 53 off just 32 deliveries. With Kohli at one down, the hosts of the next 50-over World Cup may have just found the right batsman to follow the captain.
3. Pollard puts his stamp on the team.
Having been given the captaincy for the first time after plying his trade all around the world, both as skipper and part of the leadership team, the Trinbagonian has taken the role head on. He provided leadership to the youngsters in the team. He switched the bowling whenever anyone was being taken apart, so as not to allow the Indians to get “too comfortable” with any one form of attack and his batting was solid, compiling 105 in the two T20s he batted in and an unbeaten 74 in the last ODI. He also has shown to be an inclusive leader, constantly employing the advice of the other senior members of his team.
4. India’s catching was a concern.
The hosts had butter hands in both series, as they dropped a total of 20 catches which is an extremely high number even in the worse of circumstances. What was the reason for such poor fielding on India’s part though? Well interestingly enough, KL Rahul claimed that the lights being “low” could have been a contributing factor to the numerous dropped chances. He said “It’s just that the lights are pretty low and sometimes you lose the ball under the lights.” Fielding coach Ramakrishan Sridhar will definitely have some work to do over the next several months as the T20 World Cup is less than a year away.
5. West Indies bowling needs some work.
It goes without saying that the leader of the attack is Sheldon Cottrell, as the Jamaican has continued to grow leaps and bounds in the recent times. His change of pace is arguably his best weapon. Youngster Keemo Paul also gave a good account of himself, but the rest of the attack including Jason Holder and spinners Hayden Walsh Jr. & Khary Pierre showed promise, but they will need to be handled delicately to realise their undoubted potential. At least the return of Dwayne Bravo should help come 2020.
A competitive two-format series concluded with many takeaways for both India and West Indies and as both sides build towards massive tournaments on the horizon, there is still much needed for either to capture the titles they will be gunning for soon.
ODI Main Photo: Sheldon Cottrell searches for answers in one of his better bowling displays. Picture credits:: Hindustan Times