A Series to Remember for Newbies, a Hard-hitting Lesson for the Giants

The recently concluded UK tour was a testament to India’s supremacy on foreign soil. Defeating England in their backyard has always been a tough nut to crack but in the last 12 months, the world has seen a dominant Indian side that has the calibre of doing wonders on overseas conditions.

Had the 5-match Test series not been postponed due to Covid-19, India would have most likely clinched their first series win since 2007. Moreover, with the zeal that the team had last year, the scoreline could have read 3-1 if the Nottingham Test wasn’t washed out. Drawing the series 2-2 after almost a year seemed like a consolation price that India received after letting the rescheduled game at Edgbaston go off their grip.

Also Read | The Future Belongs to Rishabh Pant and We Have All Got Front-row Seats!

Speaking of the zeal, the visitors possessed it back with the return of Rohit Sharma in the white-ball fixtures. They not only won a second consecutive T20I series in England but also claimed only the third ODI series win here.

The past 15 days served an optimum dosage of cricket, full of superb individual performances and some surprising failures as well. As India end the England tour victoriously, let’s have a look at its takeaways.

The curious case of Virat Kohli

‘He needs a break’, ‘He should be dropped’, ‘Why is he being rested’, ‘He’ll be fine’… when a star like Kohli doesn’t get runs, he becomes a part of every discussion related to cricket. We’ve had enough of his failure stories in the last couple of weeks. 11 & 20 in the 5th Test, 1 & 11 in T20Is, 16 & 17 in 2 ODIs – the man who had ruled England in 2018 was now surviving a drought of runs in 2022. Given his past laurels, he could be facing a ‘cricketer’s block’ at the moment. But when the block turns two-year-old, it’s scary. Kohli’s inability to score makes the Indian top-order look fragile which was the case in most of the games on this tour. Since he is going for a break for the next 30 days, let’s see how he returns.

Also Read | Will Frequent Rests Help Virat Kohli or Make Things Difficult for Him?

The rise of Hardik Pandya

The captaincy in IPL 2022 seemed to have turned Pandya’s personality inside out. Towards the end of 2021, he was almost as out of India’s scheme of things, in fact, the larger ones. Then came this year’s IPL which saw a completely changed Hardik Pandya who shuffled roles without a wrinkle on his forehead. From leading an IPL franchise to the title to leading India in overseas series, Pandya came a long way riding on the hard work he did behind the curtains – at the NCA. He’s surely going to cherish this tour of England for the rest of his life as he achieved several unnavigated feats, including his maiden T20I fifty and his best ODI figures.

Rishabh Pant the beacon of hope

If people think about why the selectors are investing so much in Pant, then this England tour could be an answer to that. Whenever India stuttered, he incarnated as the healer. Be it the 5th test or the final ODI, he was there to save the ship from sinking. People expect him to keep flourishing and never stop but he is just 24 and a human after all. So, failures will be there. But someone in his early 20s, winning games for India single-handedly definitely makes him a great player representing the country.

Big Names, little impact

This has been the case with team India throughout the series. Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Cheteshwar Pujara, Vihari; you just name them and then you’ll unable to figure out if they made any notable contributions. Barring Rohit’s unbeaten 50-run knock in the 1st ODI, the captain himself struggled to spend more time at the crease. Dhawan looked rusty in his comeback, Iyer couldn’t grab the opportunities he was given; while Pujara and Vihari – the heroes of Australia Tests – were the least impactful.

Youngsters to the fore

The likes of Deepak Hooda and Arshdeep Singh were the biggest positives of the England tour. They had limited appearances but left a deep mark with their performances. Hooda had a memorable trip. A maiden international hundred in Ireland – that too in T20Is – and then a 33 in England, his outings were worth watching. On the other hand, Arshdeep impressed on his debut with the figures of 2/18; that’s quite a start to his international career.

Beware of India’s bowling attack

Three different formats as many sets of bowlers – India’s biggest strength on this tour was their bowling department. They might not have picked all the 20 wickets in the rescheduled fifth Test but did bundle out the hosts in the first innings. Later, they picked up 27 wickets in 3 T20Is and hit the bullseye with a complete 30 in the 3-match ODI series where India got all-out for just once, at Lord’s. These bowling stats are enough to explain the growing supremacy of India’s bowling attack. Started back in 2018 in South Africa, continuing to haunt the Aussies and the Englishmen, that too, at their respective homes.

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