The ODI series between England and India has been concluded, with England coming from behind to win the series 2-1. This series was hyped up to be a fascinating contest between 2 of the best one-day teams, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are 4 things we learnt ahead of next year’s World Cup.
India still don’t know their best middle order combination
For a while now, India have tried several different batsmen in the middle order in the hope of solving their problem, yet this series showed that it is still at large. In the first ODI, it seemed like everything was perfect for India, with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli being among the runs in a comfortable victory. But in both the second and third ODI, the middle order showed that they are vulnerable when put under pressure. Not only are the selectors constantly chopping and changing the batting line up once every other game, they are also sending a bad message by overlooking young, yet extremely talented Indian batsmen such as Ribshah Pant and Shreyas Iyer. With the World Cup less than a year away, it is imperative that India sort this massive issue out, and fast.
MS Dhoni either needs to bat higher up the order or make way for someone else
Only a fool would question the fact that MS Dhoni is one of the all-time great Indian players, and the experience he brings to the table is invaluable. However, his innings in the 2nd and 3rd ODI raises a lot of questions. In the 2nd ODI, there was no intention whatsoever to play aggressively, despite the required run rate rising with every over, and in the 3rd ODI, he played a lot of dot balls which slowed down the Indian innings massively at a stage where acceleration was needed. The fact that he is scoring at a slow rate have put pressure on the other batsmen, and this has been the case for at least a year now. One solution to this could be to bring Dhoni up the order where he has the time to build an innings and play the anchor role. If that can’t happen, it may be time for him to make way for another player.
Root ‘s importance in the England batting line up cannot be overlooked
To be completely honest with you, I was shocked when Joe Root was dropped from the playing 11 in the final two 20/20 internationals. The reasoning behind this was that out of all the England batsmen, Root is probably the only player that is not a big hitter. However, the ODI series clearly evidenced that Root is the most important batsmen in the England team. His century in the second ODI held the England’s first innings together when the Indian bowlers were threatening to restrict England to a below par total. Furthermore, his century in the third ODI where he handled the Indian spin duo with ease killed off any chance of an Indian victory. It is extremely likely that England will find themselves in a tricky situation when batting in at least one of the matches in the World Cup, and if there is one person you would rely on to get the out of trouble, it’s Joe Root.
England are clear favourites for next year’s World Cup
This series was meant to be a serious test of England’s World Cup credentials, yet it is one that they passed with flying colours. The series win over India means that it has now been 8 straight ODI series wins for England (not including the loss over Scotland). What the England team should be even more pleased about, however, is that they were able to learn very quickly from the heavy defeat in the first match to win the series, which is a sign of a strong team that is always striving to improve. In addition to overcoming India, beating Australia 4-1 away from home and 5-0 at home is some feat, and this England team is gathering some serious momentum before the World Cup. This is by far the best ODI team that England has ever had, and with world class players such as Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in the team, it is a squad that is to be feared come next year’s World Cup. And with the World Cup being held in home soil, there is even more reason to suggest that the trophy is England’s to lose.