Many of Indian stars did exceptionally well in the Indian Premier League 2018 season. The cash-rich global league had once again seen some of the regular Indian cricketers up the ante and dominate the proceedings for their respective franchises. A lot was expected from some of these star players, who were selected in the India's limited-overs series squad against England.
But as India won the two-match T20I series, they let the momentum slip in the ODIs and lost the series 1-2. What was astonishing is that players like Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul and Dinesh Karthik could not deliver the goods when given the chance. So what happens to these players, while playing in crucial international series?
They play exceptionally well in the IPL, but when it comes to international cricket, their problems creep up. Why this decisive difference? Aren't they strong enough against international bowlers? Are these players not suitable for overseas conditions? Or is it the format to blame?
There are many questions that creep up thinking about their abysmal performances. Suresh Raina in particular was a letdown. He played a defining role in Chennai Super Kings' title winning season, but when it came to deliver for the national side in ODIs, he threw his chances away.
India's batting line-up is almost settled apart from two positions (number 4 and 5). In the recent past, Kohli has tried out a lot of options. We have seen, at least, seven players being used. But the issue hasn't been resolved. And that's why, the England series was important for Raina. His scores of 46 and 1 are not enough to justify his selection.
The platform was set for Raina, in both the ODIs, to show his mettle. He came in at a time when India needed him to bat long. The innings of 46 at Lord's looked like a promising one, but just when he looked settled, he threw it away with an abysmal shot. And his vulnerability was caught, early on, in the 3rd ODI.
Is Raina too casual? Or is IPL the latest interest rather than international matches?
The likes of Hardik Pandya also failed successively. He was brilliant in the IPL with 18 wickets to his name, but in England he neither picked wickets nor contributed with the bat. That in turn saw MS Dhoni face the unnecessary wrath for slowing things down in the two ODI losses. Dhoni ran out of partners and therefore couldn't quite approach the game as he often does.
He played one of the best seasons in IPL this year, but failed to have similar strike-rate when needed though. Perhaps one can defend him in saying the situation and condition was different.
But what about debutant pace bowler Siddarth Kaul? He never managed to have any sort of impact with the new ball like Umesh Yadav did. He was excellent for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, but never quite got his basics right. Have these players become too money oriented or they have stopped caring? Only time will tell.