The recently concluded Bangladesh v India ODI Series was nothing short of historic! The Tigers recorded their first ever bilateral series victory against India (a full-strength squad) and sealed a place in the 2017 Champions Trophy, to be hosted by England. India managed to pull things back, to some extent, in the 3rd ODI, with a 77 run victory. However, the hosts ended the series with a massive confidence boost and bright hopes for future.
Indian middle order – changes on the way
Ajinkya Rahane’s surprise exclusion from the playing XI in the 2nd ODI was perhaps the most potent signal of the changes that are to come in the Indian middle order. The skipper MS Dhoni justified this step by saying that Rahane had the tendency to ‘get stuck on slow wickets’. However, that’s not the whole story! Dhoni has now clearly expressed his plans of getting back to the No. 4 position in ODIs in order to exercise better control of the innings. Suresh Raina’s demotion to No. 6 appeared to have worked well in the 3rd ODI, when the southpaw came up with a quickfire 21-ball 38 to take India past 300. Note that this was Raina’s first noteworthy contribution in the Blue jersey after quite some time! A toss up between Rayudu and Rahane, howsoever unfair it might appear to the neutral observer, might be on the way in the future. And Dhoni, after a confident half century at No. 4 in the last game, would hope to hold on to the position for some time now.
Indian pacers v Bangladeshi pacers : Contrasting features
The fact that the Indian team had to reorganise the pace department after every game in the ODI series speaks a lot about the instability in it. The world cup magic of Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma vanished right away during the very first ODI at Mirpur. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, after a good show in the IPL, looked very ordinary in both games that he played. An otherwise out-of-favour Dhawal Kulkarni appeared to be the only bright spot for the Indians. The Bangladeshi pacers on the other hand used the very same conditions at Mirpur to the best of their abilities. And they changed the fortunes of a team that had traditionally relied on spinners and batsmen in international cricket! Mustafizur Rahman’s epic debut series, in which he bagged a record 13 wickets in 3 matches, was expertly complemented by Mashrafe Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed.
The All Rounder’s spot – Shakib Al Hasan v Ravindra Jadeja
Questions on Ravindra Jadeja had resurfaced in the last few months following his poor performances both in the World Cup and the IPL. And his place in the team has become more uncertain after the ordinary outings with the bat and the ball in this series. Shakib Al Hasan, on the other hand, provided Bangladesh the timely breakthroughs with the ball, and stability in the middle order with the bat. In fact, it was his patient half century in the 2nd ODI that helped his team avoid untimely hiccups and get past the finishing line. Instead of adding value to the team, Jadeja has become more of a question mark for it. And that is hurting India big time. With Stuart Binny and Axar Patel in line for the all rounder’s spot, “Sir Jadeja” will have to buckle up and deliver notable performances.
Bangladesh v India : No longer a boring affair!
Howsoever painful the last week might have been for Indian cricket fans, the results auger well for the game as a whole. The emergence of Bangladesh as a major cricketing nation shall definitely help change the abject ‘sameness’ that has plagued international cricket for so long. And it shall definitely mean that Bangladesh v India encounters are going to be more eagerly received by fans in the future!