India made a solid start to the tour of Zimbabwe, as they won the 1st ODI comprehensively by 9 wickets. The Indian bowlers were led by Jasprit Bumrah’s 4/28 and they restricted Zimbabwe to a paltry 168 in 49.5 overs. In response, K L Rahul struck a fantastic century on his debut, becoming the first Indian to achieve this feat. Ambati Rayudu supported him with a gutsy 62 as the visitors wrapped up the match with 45 balls to go.
Time for some fresh talent in the bowling department
The winds of change have started blowing strongly in the Indian bowling department. The days of the fading flickering candles like Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav seem numbered – age and consistency are no longer in their favour. The likes of Barinder Sran, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jasprit Bumrah, however, seem to be emerging fast. Even though it would be unwise to take a call on their future going by their few recent performances, it would be worthwhile to invest more time and energy on them from hereon. Bumrah, especially, has quickly evolved into a fantastic death bowler who has been of immense service to India in 2016.
Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja’s places in the team may now be doubtful
It was way back in January 2015 that K L Rahul had first made a mark on Indian cricket with a century in the Sydney Test against Australia. However, it took him more than a year, to renovate his image as a multi-dimensional player who can adapt to all formats of the game. His bombastic performances in the just concluded season of the IPL and the century on ODI debut have now given him the platform to make it big in limited overs cricket. With Shikhar Dhawan’s prolonged struggle to find form, Rahul might well be very close to replacing the left hander in all formats.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and Manish Pandey are three other contenders for coveted slots in the playing XI of the Indian team. All three of them have been mightily impressive in the last couple of editions of the IPL, and Pandey has already registered a century against Australia in Sydney earlier this year. This means that chances of further permutations and combinations in the Indian team may be on, given the gradual erosion of Ravindra Jadeja’s utility in the team in the recent past. Jadeja’s batting prowess has been almost non existent in the last one year, while his bowling skills are no longer what they used to be.