Even though one should not read too much into the performances against Bangladesh the three- match T-20 series did help in giving some pointers as to the composition of the team in the future and which direction the Indian squad is likely to take. T-20 cricket has assumed considerable significance as the world championships are to be held in Australia in just under a year from now and every game the Indians figure in will be followed with more than usual interest. India have not won the world tournament since its surprise triumph in the inaugural edition in South Africa in 2007 and are not as proficient as they are in Tests and ODIs. Men in Blue are down at No 5 in the ICC T20I rankings.
While it was a bit disappointing that India could only win 2-1 and not make a clean sweep of the series against Bangladesh as expected there were some positives to come out from the contest. The fact remains that the series was won despite some leading stars being rested and so there was much focus on the bench strength which has been the topic of intense discussion. It is well known that the bench strength in all three formats is quite strong and against Bangladesh players like Shreyas Iyer and Shivam Dube all proved that they had it in them to come good if given the chance. There was considerable excitement around Dube’s debut and while he had little to do with the bat he performed admirably with the ball and he is obviously a utility player who deserves encouragement.
As regards Iyer there was never any doubt about his skill and class. Indeed he was initially short listed for the traditional format. Hailing from the Mumbai school of batting and boasting a first class average of 52 he seemed a natural for Test cricket and it is a tribute to his versatility that he has come good in the shorter formats too. It was not just scores of 22, 24 not out and 62 that put the focus on him but the manner in which he made the runs really caught the eye. Coming in at the much discussed No 4 slot he gave the innings the necessary impetus with some big hitting.
Deepak Chahar has made himself the man of the moment with his mesmeric figures of six for seven in the final game including a hat trick. The medium pacer deserves credit not only for the string of records his feat brought him but also for quelling the Bangladesh challenge when they seemed to be on course. However the senior pace bowlers will be back ere long and one cannot see Chahar as a long term prospect.
On the negative side there has to be questions marks over Shikhar Dhawan’s utility value at the top of the order and it appears that the career of the left hander who turns 34 next month could be heading towards its twilight period. Also there was much derisive talk about Rishabh Pant’s batting and keeping but he has the team management’s backing and even with Sanju Samson breathing down his neck it is likely that he will continue to hold on to his place.