Windies continued their impressive performance in the first two matches of the series by finally securing their first win to level the series 1-1. However, Khaleel Ahmed’s struggle while bowling the balls from over the wicket was one of the biggest concerns to have come out of the game for India.
Khaleel Ahmed and the need of over the wicket reportiere
Considering the fact that there are more right-handed batsmen in the world than lefties, the left-arm pacers have an obvious advantage against them. Lefties make the batsman change track before a ball is bowled from the over the wicket angle as the batsman needs to open up his stance a bit. Otherwise, the point the ball is being delivered, it creates a blind spot for the batsman and thus increases the chances of getting out. However, Khaleel Ahmed - India’s new punt as a left-arm quick - is largely unsuccessful in taming down the batsmen from his over the wicket angle, giving a big leeway to the opposition.
In his four-match long international career, when Khaleel has bowled from the over the wicket angle to the right-handers, he is yet to pick up a wicket and conceded runs at an economy rate of 5.3 runs per over with a boundary percentage of 12.9%. However, his numbers while bowling around the wicket change completely and he becomes a terrific bowler instantly. He has a 4.3 rpo with a boundary percentage of 6.8% while picking five wickets from around the stumps.
In doing so, Khaleel had an advantage that he didn’t use. He has that natural angle which helps him big-time even if the ball isn't swinging in the air and the pitch isn't offering anything. Because the ball will go across the batsman and playing on the up isn't as easy as playing through the line to the right-arm fast bowlers. But by curbing his over the wicket angle, the Rajasthan pacer has made himself vulnerable to the situations, which in normal circumstances could have given him more purchase, and hopefully, more wickets.
Let’s talk about Windies’ World Cup plans
There is a huge chasm between India and Windies. While one is probably the best all-format team in the world at the moment, Windies somehow managed to book a place in the World Cup, after playing the qualifiers. There was a little point discussing the class, but boy, have not Windies made everyone sit up and take notice of them in this ODI series, which holds them well for the World Cup in 2019.
Windies came to India with an ordinary unit and there's every possibility they might field a completely different playing XI in the World Cup. It will be very difficult for them to not include the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, and Evin Lewis, and therein lies the problem. But with the World Cup being only seven months away, how is that fair on this team which is making all the right noises. Kieron Powell, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer have been brilliant in the series so far and with Jason Holder being all but sure for the tournament, it will be a headache for the Windies selection committee to give chances to senior pro.
Even if they do so, now the current set of players have all the rights to ask for the validity of the same. How Windies team management is going to handle the issue is also something that will have a lot of attention.
Windies missed a trick against Kohli
Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world! Period! No one can deny the fact and is only going to accept that he is operating at a ridiculously brilliant level. His efficiency against spin is quite remarkable as his basic game against spinners is built around three shots - the back-foot punch or cut through the point-cover region, and the step out of his crease to play towards long-on and the brilliant flick both in front and behind the square. When playing those flicks, the bowler is forced to shorten his length, and then the Indian skipper starts going deep inside his crease. Once in a while he also steps out and gets to the pitch of the ball to play towards long on. Interestingly, he doesn't play the drive towards mid-off and perhaps Windies spinners missed a trick against him throughout the series so far.
Instead of asking him probing questions by imparting some amount of bounce to the deliveries, they only bowled balls that would have ended up within the stumps. He also faced a fair supply of short balls, albeit most finishing either outside off or above his shoulder that he was happy playing late cuts like Rohit Sharma. Windies could have made him play by imparting more drift to the ball, and given the fact that Pune didn’t have a lot of dew on offer, they might have asked Kohli to come down the track more often than not. Also, Jason Holder kept that mid-off on throughout for some weird reason. Kohli doesn’t play there.
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