Following the thumping nine-wicket win in the fifth and final ODI, India head coach Ravi Shastri expressed his delight over the way the team bounced back in the series.
Before the ODI series started, not many would have given Windies even an outside chance of posing a tough challenge to India let alone beating their fancied opponents. The way they performed in the Tests, the speculations only became stronger.
However , Windies exceeded all the expectations and gave India a run for their money in the first three ODIs. In fact, they could have taken a 2-1 lead in the series had they managed to win the thrilling second game which ended in a tie. They scored 320-plus totals in the first two games and beat India by 43 runs in the third while defending 283.
But while Windies were raising eyebrows with their eye-catching performances, India’s performance also raised eyebrows for all the wrong reasons. Their middle-order looked fragile while their bowlers failed to contain an inexperienced Windies side.
But the Men in Blue stamped their authority over the visitors with two clinical displays in the last two games. India won the fourth game by 224 runs before inflicting a nine-wicket loss on the tourists in the fifth game. Asked to bowl first, the Men in Blue bowled out Jason Holder & Co. for just 104 before chasing down the total by losing just one wicket.
Delighted with the clinical effort, coach Ravi Shastri lavished praise on the team for bouncing back in the last two games. He also praised Ambati Rayudu who impressed at number four.
“We are back on track. I thought we were below par in the field in the second and third ODI. We could have done much better. Sometimes you need a wake-up call and we were at our best in the last 2 ODIs. This Windies team is a promising unit. They have some exceptional players who with exposure, I am sure will test some of the big sides,” said Shastri.
“I am pretty happy with Rayudu. It is never easy to make a comeback in the team after couple of years. Even though you have to express yourself, you hold back and that is understandable because couple of bad performance can lose you your place in the team. He has handled the pressure really well and batted really well in the last match. His last fifty in the last ODI was very good,” added Shastri.
Shastri further said that left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed can become more effective if he adds more pace to his bowling.
Fast-bowlers, leg-spinner, off-spinner, chinaman spinner, wrist spinners, India’s arsenal is filled with quality bowlers. However, one area where India is lacking right now is a left-arm pacer. Ever since the retirement of the legendary Zaheer Khan, India has not got a perfect replacement for the former left-arm pacer and with the next World Cup just few months away, India will be keen to see Khaleel settling down in the side.
“The left-arm fast bowlers can be very handy. Khaleel is raw, he doesn’t have the experience but he has the variations and has the aggression too. Once he adds to his speed, he will be more than effective,” said Shastri.