Team India won its first ODI series in England since 2014-15 on Monday after defeating the hosts by 5 wickets. Chasing a tricky 260-run target at Old Trafford, the Men in Blue lost their top-order in what turned out to be a nervy chase. However, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant teamed up to rescue India with a 133-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
While Pandya scored a 55-ball 71, Pant returned with an unbeaten 125 off 113 deliveries after bringing up his maiden ODI hundred. The cricket fraternity was all praise for both cricketers who displayed a phenomenal batting show, helping India pocket the ODI series 2-1.
“India are a very strong team, but they need to learn from what happened in the past. In the last T20 World Cup in the UAE they were a bit timid with the bat, so they need to stop being that. When you have Pandya and Pant in the middle order and then Jadeja that rope to follow, you don’t need to be timid at the top.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted a few moments when Indian batters succumbed against left-arm seamers. Recalling India’s fixtures against arch-rival Pakistan from T20 World Cup 2021 and ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, Hussain said Rohit Sharma and his boys need to play left-arm pace bowling a ‘little better’.
“They need to play to left arm [pace bowling] a little bit better. History tells you that Shaheen Shah Afridi blew them away one evening in Dubai, Mohammad Amir blew them away one afternoon at the Oval in a final, and Reece Topley has blown them away here [at Old Trafford].
“They need to be a bit more tensed to their batting so some of their seamers will come down in a T20, in the last two overs with 20 to win. One of those seamers will need them to get across the line,” Hussain added.
The former England captain further spoke about Virat Kohli who hasn’t been among runs for the last two years. The latter had an underwhelming tour of England which continued to expose his weakness – the deliveries moving away from the off stump. In the rescheduled Test, he registered scores of 11 & 20 across innings. He got a total of 12 runs (1 and 11) in two T20Is and scored just 33 (16 and 17) in the last two ODIs.
Hussain opined that once Kohli is back from the break, he’d be fine, adding that India just need to play the ICC tournaments as they compete in bilateral games.
“They have got fit; they have seamers to die for. Their batting, Virat Kohli will be fine. Once he is out of the break, he will be absolutely fine. They are positioned nicely. They just got to play ICC tournaments just like they play bilateral tournaments,” Hussain concluded.