India vs West Indies 2018: Positives and worries for the Indian team

Jatin Khandelwal

Virat Kohli lifted an ODI trophy for the sixth consecutive time on home soil. Nothing different was expected at the start of the series, but at some points of it the Windies did look competitive - at least in the first three ODIs.

With less than a year remaining for the ICC World Cup in England and Wales, let’s see what the Indian team can take away from the series.

The positives

The Asia Cup champions commenced the series with doubts regarding the number four position, but Ambati Rayudu put them all to bed in Mumbai. With 217 runs in four innings which included a half century and a century, Rayudu has certainly solved the middle order conundrum.

The 20-year-old Khaleel Ahmed impressed everyone with his abilities to swing the ball both ways and pick up wickets at crucial junctures. Kohli was all praises for the young Khaleel after his 3-fer in Mumbai. He also adds the variety of left arm seam to the Indian bowling attack.

Ravindra Jadeja replaced the injured Hardik Pandya in the Asia Cup, and hasn’t put a foot wrong since. He has been picking wickets regularly and is a livewire in the field. Though Axar Patel has been travelling with the team for a while now, the batting abilities of Jadeja surpass those of Axar’s.

The Indian cricket team

The worries

Rohit, Kohli, Bumrah and Kuldeep did nothing less than what was expected from them; they excelled in their respective departments. But India still have a few worries even after a thumping series victory.

The bowlers went for over 300 runs in the first two ODIs, although the seam bowling department looked completely different with the return of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar. India don’t seem to have proper backups for these two stalwarts.

Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Chahar and Khaleel Ahmed have been tried in the last couple of ODI series, and with 13 matches left for the Indian team before the World Cup, the selectors do have an unsolved issue on hand.

Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked very ordinary in this series. But with their experience and past proficiency, they can be expected to fare better in the upcoming matches.

And now to address the elephant in the room. There were already qualms about MS Dhoni’s form, which only gained steam with his failure in the run chase at Pune. Dhoni has been dropped from the T20I squad for the Australia tour, but Kohli assured everyone of his being a vital component in the one-day setup.

The World Cup winning captain needs to pull out another rabbit out of the hat like he has done every time people have been dubious of his form. He is still astute behind the stumps and his experience will always work to the team's benefit.

With the number four slot occupied by Rayudu, the starting XI looks almost set. One of the Gujarati all-rounders will be assigned the finishing duties.

However, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik are also in contention for a ticket to UK. The scoreline might say 3-1, but the Indian management still have plenty of questions, which they would hope are answered before the 30th of May next year.