x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Few shining lights in the One Day International format for India

Two years away from defending the 50-over world title, India had an indifferent season of ODIs against Pakistan and England, writes Dileep Premachandran.

India beat England, and Kevin Pietersen, 3-2 in the One Day International series. Gareth Copley / Getty Images
India beat England, and Kevin Pietersen, 3-2 in the One Day International series. Gareth Copley / Getty Images

India finished their one-day season with a 4-4 record. Despite calls for his head, MS Dhoni was one of the stars for a team that saw several reputations take a beating.

The defeat in Dharamsala yesterday against England saw India finish their one-day engagements for the 2012/13 season.

Comprehensively outplayed by Pakistan in a 2-1 defeat, they were significantly better than an English side they beat 3-2.

This was also a season of churning, with Sachin Tendulkar announcing his retirement from one-day cricket. Virender Sehwag was dropped two games into the Pakistan series, while Zaheer Khan was not even picked for the ODI squad.

Here, we look at the winners and losers just two years away from India's defence of their 50-over World Cup title:

Winners

MS Dhoni came into the one-day matches against Pakistan and England under immense pressure. But Dhoni produced one of his finest innings, an unbeaten 113 against Pakistan in Chennai.

Even as the top order failed game after game, Dhoni produced one doughty innings after another, tallying 351 from eight matches. Entrusted with a relatively inexperienced bowling attack, Dhoni juggled his resources as best he could

Suresh Raina His struggles in the Test arena have obscured just how good Raina has been in the one-day arena for nearly half a decade now.

He produced a series of innings that showcased his class in coloured clothes. He scored 369 runs in seven innings, and was generally as sprightly as ever in the field.

There was a time when he was talked of as a future limited-overs captain but with such hype now behind him, he has reinforced his position as a key batsmen in the ODI team.

Ravindra Jadeja The butt of every disgruntled Indian fan's jokes, Jadeja had an outstanding season. With the bat, he scored 168 runs at 42. With the ball, he took 13 wickets at 15.

His left-arm spin may not be from the Bishan Bedi school, but few batsmen managed to master him. His economy rate of 3.26 was comfortably the best of any Indian bowler.


Losers

Virat Kohli Save for 77 not out in the win over England at Ranchi, this was a one-day season to forget for Kohli.

He averaged 24 over the eight games, and was repeatedly troubled by swing and seam.

When in form, those booming drives through and over cover looked so easy. Now that times are tough, perhaps he needs to be a bit more watchful.

Gautam Gambhir There was a time when he was talked of as an alternate leadership option. After just 161 runs in eight matches, you are unlikely to hear such talk for a while.

The lack of confidence that has bedevilled his Test game seems to have afflicted his one-day performances as well. The deflection through gully was once one of his strengths. Now, it is a glaring weakness.

Ravichandran Ashwin The numbers suggest he had a decent season, with 10 wickets at 38 and an economy rate of five.

But while he troubled batsmen in patches, Ashwin was not even the best slow bowler on his side. In the head-to-head contests against Saeed Ajmal he was decidedly second best.

Ashok Dinda With Zaheer out of the reckoning, this was a great opportunity for Dinda to cement a place in the side.

By season end though, he had even been eclipsed by his Bengal teammate Shami Ahmed.

Dinda bowled at decent pace, but did little else and his inability to exert any control meant that he got just one outing against England.

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