India vs England series review: More positives than negatives for Kohli and Co.

The three-match One-Day International (ODI) series win for India in a way sounded off the first of many preparatory steps ahead of the 2023 World Cup, which will be played on Indian soil.

India captain Virat Kohli poses with the trophy after winning the ODI series following the third One-Day International between India and England at the MCA Stadium in Pune.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The coin toss hardly went India’s way during England’s two-month-long tour of India, but Virat Kolhi’s cavaliers ensured the home side walked away with a clean sweep of series wins across the three formats.

The three-match One-Day International (ODI) series that concluded with a nail-biting seven-run win for India on Sunday in a way sounded off the first of many preparatory steps ahead of the 2023 World Cup, which will be played on Indian soil.

Our correspondents Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss the men's side's season thus far and what to look forward to in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

 


Here’s a look at some of India’s gains – and pains – from the ODI series.

Bhuvneshwar back, Shardul continues to attack

After an injury hiatus kept him out of action for a year, Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned to India’s limited-overs setup last month. Having gained in confidence during the five Twenty20 Internationals that preceded the ODIs, the pace bowler was back to his miserly best. His economy rate of 4.65 in 29 overs was the best of the series on the flat tracks laid out at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Add his six wickets to the mix, and Bhuvneshwar seems likely to regain his place in the squad even when Jasprit Bumrah returns to the fold.

On the other hand, Shardul Thakur seems to have all but cemented his place in the side as a third pacer and a useful No. 8 batsman. His economy rate is high, but he compensates with his wicket-taking abilities, as seen in the third ODI, where he was brought into the attack in the 14th over and cleaned up England’s middle order in no time.

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Pant and Hardik’s licence to kill

Hardik and Pant took the attack to the English bowlers.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Thanks to a middle-order that has been far from reliable over the last five years, India’s top three have been forced to adopt a conventional approach to building an innings and unleashing themselves only towards the end. But with K. L. Rahul regaining his mojo and the fearsome duo of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya back to their best, India seems set to follow in England’s footsteps in adopting a crash-bang-wallop approach right through the innings. Both Pant and Hardik displayed, especially in the third ODI on Sunday, a methodical madness – one manufacturing strokes, the other using raw power to clear the field – that not only wears the opposition down but also frees up Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan at the top.

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End of Kul-Cha?

When India fielded five pacers and a solitary spinner in Krunal Pandya in the decider, it was the first instance of India’s ODI XI featuring neither Kuldeep Yadav nor Yuzvendra Chahal since the 2017 Champions Trophy. While Chahal was benched for all three ODIs, Kuldeep appeared to have lost his zip and turn in the first two. The Chinaman’s mishandling over the last two years seems to have affected his confidence, and it will be surprising if he remains in contention for the stiffer tests in the near future.

Kuldeep Yadav failed to make an impact against England across formats.   -  GETTY IMAGES

As a result, India will be desperate to see Ravindra Jadeja return from his injury break to pair with Chahal. With R. Ashwin sidelined for the shorter formats, without Jadeja and Chahal, India’s spin coffers seem to be empty. No wonder then that the India spinners’ combined figures in the series were 39-0-312-1.