India’s tour of England has finally ended, and the visitors should be given credit for coming out unscathed. India had a 2-1 lead over England in the Test series last year before the fifth encounter was postponed to 2022 because of coronavirus. India lost the deciding Test as the series ended 2-2. But the side came to terms in the white-ball series comprising three T20Is and three ODIs. India sealed both the white-ball series by a 2-1 margin, showing enough character and steel. Here we highlight the key takeaways from the tour.
Hardik Pandya is a must in this Indian side
After being bothered by injuries and form, Hardik Pandya came to life in the IPL 2022 season, leading Gujarat Titans to the title in their debut campaign. Pandya came in at number four with the bat, and the move worked so well. He was a standout performer, and his confidence shot up with the team aiding him. In the two T20Is, he managed 51 and 12 with the bat, besides taking five wickets with the ball. In the ODIs, he scored 29 and 71. He finished with six scalps as well. Pandya is back at his best, and India need the all-rounder to keep fit and delivering. A fit Pandya in the Test side will aid the performance significantly. He is getting his rhythm back, and that’s a major bonus.
Rishabh Pant is showing his skills
There were always talks of how Rishabh Pant has the potential but fails to convert the same into performances with his rawness. But this England tour helped Pant in many ways as he proved the critics wrong. In the fifth Test, he slammed a mind-boggling century and a fifty to smash a host of records. When India were in trouble in the third ODI, he dished out a majestic century to win the game for his side and, in turn, the series. Pant has become a bankable asset for India. He needs the backing, and the responsibility factor has slowly stepped into his game. He looks fearless, and his ability to turn the situation would prove beneficial.
Virat Kohli’s form a concern
Kohli’s wait for a century since November 2019 continues across formats. However, more than that, the England tour ended up being a nightmare this year. Kohli failed to deliver across all three formats and was caught in the cold. His technique, similarity in dismissals, and desire to go hard led to his downfall. Continuous rest from several assignments has also seen him get a lot of criticism. Questions have arisen about whether Kohli is blocking upcoming cricketers with a berth in the side. If his struggles continue, the management may be under pressure to drop him. Kohli’s scores in the tour read: 11, 20, 1, 11, 16, and 17. This is a player at his worst slump.
Bumrah is the leader of this pack
Jasprit Bumrah is undoubtedly India’s leader of the pack in bowling. He was a cut above the rest and churned out impressive numbers. He claimed five scalps in the fifth Test and quickly changed gears in the lone T20I he featured in, taking 2/10. He then came out trumps in the ODI series, taking career-best figures worth 6/19 and followed it up with 2/49. India bowled well throughout the limited-overs series, and Bumrah was at the height of things, leading the side with precision. His performances in SENA nations deserve plaudits.
Last chance for Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan is a player only limited to the ODI set-up for India, and he needs to make full use of the West Indies tour next. The southpaw seemed rusty in the ODI series, which impacted his overall play. He did share an unbeaten stand to help India win the first ODI, but the onus was on Rohit Sharma for a sparkling 70-plus score. Dhawan’s strike rate was down. The following two games saw Dhawan being outplayed. A 26-ball 9 in the second ODI was a struggle before a shot down the leg hurt his cause. This was followed by a three-ball 1 as he played a drive that wasn’t meant to give Reece Topley another wicket. With KL Rahul returning from injury, Dhawan needs runs to keep his position in the side.
SKY is India’s trump card
Suryakumar Yadav is India’s trump card in T20Is, and the magnificent lone hand in the third T20I was a testament to it. He scored a whirlwind century in a losing cause for India just when everyone else faltered. SKY’s ability to hit shots all across the ground and the ability to play fearless strokes make him a standout performer. His 39 in the first T20I was crucial as well in that middle-order. SKY is a T20I specialist, and the side is bearing the fruit of his hard work. He got starts in the ODI series but failed to carry on. This is something he will hope to address in the coming months. But in T20Is, SKY has nailed his position in India’s playing XI.
Vihari, Iyer looked awful in the rescheduled Test
Since his 111 and 53* against the West Indies back in 2019, Hanuma Vihari has shown promise, but the application and result are missing. Two fifties across 17 Test innings for this versatile cricketer is a poor return. In the fifth Test, he looked shy, managing 20 and 11. In the previous tour of Australia, he fared poorly as well. There is too much talk regarding the character of Vihari and hard work, but a batter need runs, and sadly the right-handed batter has fallen short. Shreyas may miss the cut in India’s T20 World Cup squad in Australia. The reason being his problems against short balls. And in Test cricket, too, especially in SENA nations, Iyer is now proving to be a weak link.