Windies T20I series whitewash a morale-booster for Australia-bound India

India begins its tour of Australia with a three-match T20I series starting November 21, and it gave itself a good workout against the West Indies.

India's all-round might trumped West Indies' inconsistent batting and lack of bowling firepower.   -  AFP

The humdinger at Chepauk  presented a misleading picture of the three-match Twenty20 series.

It was a largely one-sided affair with India notching up a comfortable win in Kolkata and then crushing the West Indians at Lucknow.

And India was breezing to a victory here before, rather inexplicably, stumbling in the final stretch and then doing just enough to win.

A 3-0 triumph over the West Indies, the reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion, lost much of its lustre since the Caribbeans were without some of their brightest stars.

Yet, India’s clean sweep will give the side confidence ahead of the upcoming three-match series in Australia; the next edition of the World Twenty20 championship will be held down under in 2020.  

India needs to build a side keeping the big picture in the mind.

The series highlighted Rohit Sharma’s captaincy credentials. He is calm, unruffled and does shuffle his bowlers intelligently.

His changes in field placements are smart but subtle. Rohit plays his cards but does not give too much away.  

With the bat, he continues to be as influential and destructive as they come in Twenty20 cricket.

Shikhar Dhawan, with an amalgam of force and placement, found form. The right-left opening combination of Rohit and Dhawan is the most potent in this format.

And Rishabh Pant displayed his mojo as a muscular left-handed power-hitter. An impact player, he certainly is.

Yet, someone like K. L. Rahul, such a lovely, natural striker of the ball, should seize his chances.    

Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 31 in Kolkata when the West Indies had a sniff displayed his maturity; Karthik always had the shots, he is now rotating the strike capably.

In the bowling department, Khaleel Ahmed made an impression with his left-arm pace, angle and the ability to bowl scorching yorkers. He adds variety and quality to the attack.

Left-arm spinning all-rounder Krunal Pandya caught the eye too with his tight left-arm spin; he does get his deliveries to skid off the pitch.

And Washington Sundar showcased his variations of pace; he is tall, has a high-arm action, gets bounce with his overspin and should do well in Australia.

Of course, the big guns Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had their moments.

And the game-changing left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav foxed the Caribbeans; they struggled to pick his wrong ‘un.

And when he got an opportunity, leggie Yuzvendra Chahal contained and struck.

Despite being blanked, the West Indies had a few positives. Paceman Oshane Thomas, with his speed and thrust, made exciting viewing. Watch out for him.

His pace partner Keemo Paul has possibilities. He could become a more rounded bowler with experience.

Young left-arm spinning all-rounder Fabian Allen displayed control and temperament.

And wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran was both audacious and inventive with the willow. The return of the classy southpaw, Darren Bravo, lends some substance to the line-up.

There were many negatives for the Caribbeans. Captain Carlos Brathwaite was underwhelming and the waning Kieron Pollard, once such a massive factor, struggled with both the bat and the ball.

Then Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer, compelling strikers of the ball, failed to consolidate on starts.

In the end, the West Indies was undone by a lack of cohesion and consistency in a format where it is feared the most.

  Dugout videos