India, Feb. 1 -- After a disappointing Test series against England, it was heartening to see India bounce back in the one-day internationals against Pakistan and then England.
Admittedly, India did lose to Pakistan in the three-match series, but it is well worth remembering that they were without many experienced players, most notably in the fast bowling department, and came back from 0-1 down to sweep past England.
To me, the greatest gains to have come out of the eight matches were Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed. Both have been around in domestic cricket for a while now, but what impressed me most was their temperament and the ability to make the switch up to the international level with great ease.
Bhuvneshwar has the gift of being able to swing the ball both ways, though he predominantly brings it in to the right-hander. Moreover, he is extremely intelligent and sets up the batsmen and makes them commit mistakes.
In these days of one-day international cricket with two new balls being used, he is a dangerous bowler who produces early breakthroughs in almost every game.
Shami is quicker than Bhuvneshwar, and can also swing the ball at a reasonable pace. It was good to see Ishant running in hard and bowling quick.
I was particularly delighted for MSD. After having been under great pressure following the Test series loss to England, he batted quite brilliantly and led the team astutely.
Against Pakistan in difficult conditions, he was positively outstanding with the bat and I think his hundred in Chennai has to be ranked among his all-time top international innings.
The way he handled the young team, especially against England where India lost the first game, was very heartening and I think he will be a man transformed in the season ahead.
Jadeja's arrival as an all-rounder was another wonderful positive. He bowled really well despite the new rules which make it tough for the spinners, and he batted with energy and purpose.
With him, Ashwin and Irfan, MSD can fall back on three quality all-rounder depending on the conditions.
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Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.