With the limited overs series in England done and dusted Indian cricket fans look forward to the much awaited 5 match Test series where they look to strengthen their position as No.1 Test side in the world.
Team India will look back at the 1st leg of the summer with mixed emotions. As expected the Ireland T20 Series was a good opportunity to familiarise themselves to English conditions even though the weather at times was that similar to that experienced back home!
The England leg of the limited overs series was an opportunity to bench test ahead of the World Cup in 12 months time – so what did we learn?
The Rohit Sharma / Shikhar Dhawan opening combination in England will be a difficult one to break. The right/left batting combination not only seem to enjoy batting together, but also seem to love the English conditions and once again batted beautifully together. One feels finding a spot for KL Rahul as an opener will surely come down to poor form or injury as the current duo are prime favourites to be the openers in 12 months time.
With Kohli preferring the No.3 slot we are no clearer in the much debated 4,5,6 position, however KL Rahul has put his hand up for a starting XI spot regardless of the position he bats. Having been shuffled down the order he has looked in sublime touch at times and is fast becoming a fans favourite in this side with The Bharat Army.
With Iyer and DK’s batting opportunities limited across the 6 matches the only other player to get a decent opportunity was another fans favourite Suresh Raina.
Unfortunately another series of missed opportunity for Raina, at Lords and Headingley he had two excellent opportunities to show the selectors he could make significant contributions and guide the team to victory. Has he lost his chance for a World Cup sport? Asia Cup selection will tell.
With KL Rahul almost guaranteed a spot now and the experienced floating MSD at No.7, Team India are still no closer to finding out who fills those 2 remaining middle order slots. Asia Cup will be another good opportunity to identify who makes up those slots with 4/5 players in the mix.
Three positions in this side that are almost cemented are those of Hardik, Kuldeep and Chahal – All three made significant contributions in the ODI side this summer so far and you feel are almost guaranteed a World Cup spot.
With injury to Jasprit and an unfit Bhuvi it was a good chance for India’s second string to show what they could do and stake a claim. Unfortunately with the exception of the experienced Umesh, Kaul or Thaker were unable to make any significant impact and on many occasions the England batsman were able to lay solid foundations at the start of an innings.
With Shami now passing the latest Yo-Yo test for the Test series as well, you’d think the well settled 4 pace attack of Bhuvi, Jasprit, Umesh and Shami would be the 4 main bowlers backed up by Hardik.
So it seems we still have a few questions to answer with India’s middle order batting whereas the bowling department looks strong and settled as long we can keep our bowlers fit.
It was another memorable series for the Bharat Army travelling across England, Wales and Ireland visiting multiple cities and making lots of wonderful friends and memories along the way! We now look forward to a much anticipated Test series where we will be out in full force again cheering on Team India to what we hope will be a series win!