Lessons aplenty for beaten Indians

Batting failures cause for concern in one-dayers

Lessons aplenty for beaten Indians

 
The trend for the tournament was set in the first match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, win toss and bowl first. The presence of heavy dew made it tough for bowlers to grip the ball under lights, ensuring a victory for the chasing outfit; much like seeing a movie after reading the storyline, boredom enfolding each passing second.

Even the explosive Indian batting line-up did not provide the expected entertainment, seldom firing in unison. There were hundreds from Virat Kohli, undoubtedly India’s best batsman in the event, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. All of them are capable of producing breathtaking stuff but the peculiarity of conditions forced them to temporarily shelve their free-flowing ways.

Their batting in the final against Sri Lanka hardly fitted a team eager to climb to No 1 spot in ICC one-day rankings after attaining a similar honour recently in Tests. Losing five wickets in just 10.4 overs made the final a one-horse race, and Indian batting failing to live up to its reputation is becoming a rather common feature in limited overs versions of late and that offers a few worries, especially in a season that features the World Twenty20.

Having said that Indian bowlers too need to get their act together soon, and hopefully, Eric Simmons, the newly-appointed bowling coach, can make a difference. Among regular bowlers Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were most impressive sharing 10 wickets among them at an economy rate of 5.40 and 4.96 respectively.

There were a lot of expectations from S Sreesanth, who received a chance to play in all the five matches of the tri-series. But the Kerala paceman could not make any impact, leaking runs without much to show in return. He grabbed four wickets from five matches at 6.68, the highest economy rate among frontline bowlers.

He continues to be a fine bowler in Tests, but Sreesanth will have to tune his skills in one-dayers and T20s. Dhoni, however, maintained that his bowlers have showed improvement as the tri-series progressed.

“We have seen bowlers coming back to form in this tournament. Yes, at times we haven’t batted well but we know batting is our strength; but just that someone has to take responsibility. But it’s nice to see the bowlers coming back into some sort of rhythm.

“It is very important for us because Test series will begin shortly, and from that point of view I am happy to see Zaheer hitting his straps in the one-dayers. He has a huge role to play in Tests,” Dhoni said. But ignoring the warning signals this tournament has provided will be fatal for them.

While, India are left to build on those crumbs of positives, Lanka returned home a lot happier and confident unit having won the title quite comfortably. They came into the tournament with a young side following injuries to some big names. But youngsters like Suraj Randiv, Thissara Perera, Chanaka Welegedara and Suranga Lakmal have showed their keenness to graduate to the next level, a possible indication that Lanka are ready to turn a new corner in their cricketing history.

“It was nice to see youngsters coming here and doing a great job. There was a lot of pressure on selectors back home, but in the end the youngsters vindicated the faith in them. This victory is sweet, but we should remember that one victory will not make a year great and a team great. We need to get stronger, especially mentally and physically while also improving our set of skills,” skipper Kumar Sangakkara said. Precisely, Bangladesh too need to hone those areas, though touching an infinitely larger spectrum, before hoping to mount a meaningful challenge to the big boys.

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