England have trashed India. These words sum up the third (and second) ODI of the three match series. India went into the game with concerns about their new ball bowlers and middle order batsman. Both of these weaknesses were exploited by England who were disciplined with the ball and ruthless with the bat.
India started the day by losing the toss (though they wanted to bat first) and making some questionable selections. Wicket taking bowler Umesh Yadav was dropped for Bhubaneshwar Kumar whose record on flat wickets is questionable. Most surprisingly, Lokesh Rahul was replaced by Dinesh Kartick with the much maligned Suresh Raina keeping his place and doing little to justify the vote of confidence. A decision captain Kohli will no doubt regret given the abysmal Indian performance. Selection has been a contentious issue for India under Kohli given that there appears to be no force capable of questioning his choices within the squad. One hopes that voices of dissent do manifest themselves before the start of the test series.
Looking forward to the world cup, the outcome of this series makes it abundantly clear that India have several gaps to fill. They cannot rely on Kuldeep Yadav to paper over the cracks with the ball given that sides will figure him out as the tournament reaches its end stages. The last two ODI’s pose serious questions of the Chinaman bowler. How he responds to the challenge will reveal if he is world class. The other elephant in the room is the form of MS Dhoni. While his keeping skills remain superhuman, he is struggling to accelerate with the bat against less than world class English bowling unit. Time is running out for a replacement to make a mark and be comfortable at an international level. Rohit Sharma is the textbook definition of a flat track bully. A five course meal when there is no swing and/or seam and two minute maggi noodles if there is little bit on the same.
Finally, team ICF congratulates England for the series win. Their first over India since 2011. It underlines their tag as one of the favourites for the 2019 world cup. Only time will tell if this series serves as a wakeup call or its business as usual for the boys in blue. India you have been warned.