The Indian team registered a phenomenal series win of 5-1 ODI series win over the South Africans, and that has left former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar impressed. In his column for Times of India, Manjrekar hailed the Indian team’s fighting spirit that is displayed in the Test series.
In his column, Manjrekar said, “There is a lot of optimism around Indian cricket at the moment. That fighting spirit shown in the last Test on a dangerous pitch despite having lost the series got a lot of admiration for Virat (Kohli) and his boys from the fans. Their dominance in the One-day series that followed does not surprise me. India is a very good 50-overs side and unlike in Tests, in all conditions.”
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Indian wrist-spin duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who together picked up 33 wickets in the series were one of the crucial reasons for India’s success in the ODI series. For the spin duo, Sanjay wrote, “The two young wrist-spinners have made such an incredible difference that this Indian side is virtually unrecognizable from the one that played last year. Now there are as many bowling heroes as there are batting ones, a rare scenario indeed in Indian cricket.”
Apart from the all-around performance from the men in blue, there seems to be just one grey area—middle order. For that Manjrekar has adviced that the Indian team needs a batsman who can play a 360-degree game. He added, “In Rohit (Sharma), Shikhar (Dhawan) and Virat, India have a pretty good top three. In (Hardik) Pandya, they have a good floater and big hitter. Search should be on though for at least two middle-order batsmen who can play the modern 360-degree game. Somehow, India is still a bit traditional when they bat in T20s.”
He further added, “To set and chase down massive targets, India needs a bit of audacity in the batting. And yes, maybe a couple of seam bowlers too as back up to Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah. I like the look of Jaydev Unadkat.”
After the South Africa series, the Indian team will feature in a triangular T20I series, and Manjrekar reckons that it is a chance for the team to find a solution to the problem. He said, “This team is showing potential to come out with more merit than earlier teams in this ongoing long overseas phase of international cricket. In between these major foreign tours, they will have some respite though in the form of cricket in Asia like the Nidahas trophy in Sri Lanka to mark 70 years of Sri Lankan independence.”
Sanjay Manjrekar concluded by talking about the triangular series further, he wrote, “This will be a T20 triangular featuring the hosts, Bangladesh and of course India. I see this tournament as a great chance for India to plug a few holes that don’t seem very obvious when you are winning but are there nevertheless. With these holes filled India should be watertight as a team, and be formidable in all formats which are every nation’s dream.”