The West Indies tour of India didn't go as per plan for the West Indies. But it was a confidence booster to the Indian team which won their first series of 2022. The year the first month of the year was disheartening for the fans, with losing the two test matches and eventually the first chance to win a test series in South Africa, followed by being whitewashed by the Protea team. Fortunately for the Indian team, the series with the Caribbean team brought the series of victories back.
Both the series are incomparable, with the Protean one as overseas series, and the Caribbean as the home advantage for Indians. But considering the domination of Caribbean players in shorter formats, the series win was made special. In both, the series, unexpected happened. Both the visiting sides, who were expected to give a tough fight to the hosts, did not show a glimpse of it. Fortunately for India, the latter was the one where they were the hosts.
The series did start with the micro trouble from Wuhan entering the Men in Blue camp. With few people players and support staff testing positive, the team had to be chosen with more alternatives like Deepak Hooda, Prasidh Krishna simlar to the selection of Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur before our memorable test wins. The good side of the team was the inclusion of youngsters in the squad. Also another positive for India was the performance of a few of their players who were not performing earlier.
The resistance showed by the middle order in all three matches was better, if not commendable compared to the earlier series. Iyer managed to overcome his short ball fears, eventually scoring good innings in the final match. Mr 360 of India, Surya got in good touch, scoring the highest 104 runs for India in the series. Deepak Hooda did manage to take India to a victory in the first match with composed innings. Deepak Chahar grabbing the opportunity to contribute with the bat as well as the bowl was a very big positive yet again for Men in Blue, who had witnessed his heroics in Colombo earlier, and in the ultimate match of the Protea series, where he just fell short of winning the match for India.
Bowlers contributing more than the batters in the series has been a common phenomenon for Men in Blue for the past year. These happened on a subcontinent pitch in Motera. Prasidh Krishna made an impact yet again when he was bowling in the right areas rewarded his team wickets, and him the "Man of the series" award. Siraj continued to impress everyone yet again. Chahal did his part to choke the runs and pick the big man Polly. Sundar proved his selection as an all-rounder is worth it. A chance for Kuldeep Yadav was heartening to see for Indian fans. And he caught upon it. Although the combination of kul -cha was not witnessed together, the chance given to both of them might help both of them regain their confidence.
India missed the elegance of the best batter in the world. Indians eagerly waiting for Virat's 71st century were disappointed to see their star struggling for a bit. This became the only series after 2015 where the King failed to score a half-century. But the energy he displayed on the field, and him helping the skipper Rohit Sharma to set the field was a moment many stored as their mobile wallpapers. Unfortunately for the media and its sources, the news of the rift between the two was proven wrong yet again.
Speaking of Hitman, the man continued his winning record as a captain in the limited over format. His rotation of bowlers was spot on, so were his field placements and the reviews. Barring the few decisions like unnecessary experimentation of Rishabh Pant as an opener, when already 5 players are fighting for the opening slot everything went well for the Indian skipper. Again, one would have loved to see the future star Ruturaj Gaikwad opening for Men in Blue, but the combination was not possible due to the availability of a lot of options.
Nevertheless, the series win was a confidence booster for India. It redeemed the memory of the South African series where Men in Blue were whitewashed. Hitman's captaincy also compensated for Kl Rahul's captaincy stint. The series showed a new bunch of players, all of them proving again how they could be useful for the team. If this team does not become overconfident like the South African series, they would win the T20 series too. With the rising confidence, one can hope that happens. Also, along with that one can hope our beloved king Kohli returns to form displaying his flurry of eye-pleasing shots in this series.
Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)
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