Lopsided, yet a journey well begun for India


Bulawayo, Aug. 5 -- At the outset, India's comprehensive 5-0 whitewash might seem ordinary as it came against Zimbabwe. The hosts showed some fight in the first two ODIs before displaying lowly standards than their No 10 ranking suggests.

But that should not take anything away from India, who under Virat Kohli had a spring in every step.

So the question is did India achieve, other than statistically, what they had set out for? It's an answer that cannot be found by the statistical achievement of winning hands down against a team like Zimbabwe, who are going through one of their lowest points.

For the young India team, though, it's the journey from here that matters.

The five-match series was to test India's bench strength and get it ready for rigorous, tougher assignments. The batting line-up had the familiar faces, with only skipper MS Dhoni missing in the ranks, but the bowling unit was new and it stood out.

With the exception of Vinay Kumar, who went in as the leader of the attack, all the other bowlers created right impressions. Amit Mishra made the most of R Ashwin's absence by bagging wickets in a heap, finishing with 18 wickets at an average of 11. 61.

Standout trio

It was the three seamers -- Jaydev Unadkat, Shami Ahmed and Mohit Sharma, who will be richer in experience. Unlike against spin, Zimbabweans are known to play seam bowing well. But the India trio used the conditions well -- it also helped that they bowled first in four matches and reaped the benefits. Unadkat, in particular, was a revelation, picking up eight wickets. Mohit too caught the eye with a man-of-the match showing in his debut match.

Lot of positives

Virat, in his first full-stint as skipper, could not have asked for more.

"There are a lot of positives we can take out of this series, especially the way the young guys performed," he said.

"The guys who got a chance for the first time showed a lot of character, especially someone like Mohit and Unadkat. Ajinkya Rahane coming back into the team, scoring some runs. So it was pretty good to see all the guys performing and playing their roles," he added.

Perhaps the only blip was Cheteshwar Pujara's failure in two matches. Both the times the opener was bowled. But he is a too good a batsman not to be given a long rope, having become the lynchpin of the Test team.

Overall, India made the right use of the conditions and their below-par opponents to boost their bench strength.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »