India vs New Zealand | Winners and Losers ft. Vijay Shankar, Krunal Pandya, and Rishabh Pant

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India vs New Zealand | Winners and Losers ft. Vijay Shankar, Krunal Pandya, and Rishabh Pant

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Bastab K Parida

02/11/2019

India ended their Southern Hemisphere tour with a T20I series loss to New Zealand, which came on the back of a golden summer Down Under. The two series in New Zealand also gave many players a chance to put themselves in contention for World Cup, with some grabbing it with open arms.

Winners

Vijay Shankar

The Tamil Nadu batsman has to be the biggest beneficiary of India’s limited-overs tour to New Zealand. Whenever he had the ball in his hand, he was economical and the bat soared as well, making him a strong contender for the World Cup. His batting was clean, and a downswing that gave him enough momentum to ride on the ball and play with authority on those small New Zealand stadia. His batting in the fifth ODI, where he scored 45 runs in his first batting assignment in ODI cricket, helped India stabilize the innings after an early collapse and his partnership with Ambati Rayudu was the reason why India managed to win the game. In the T20 series, he was given a chance to bat as high as No. 3, which talks about the trust that the Indian team management has on him. With the team hoping to play both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the World Cup, Hardik Pandya becomes the mandatory selection to bring balance to the batting unit. And now, India will be well served by Vijay Shankar’s batting, and also by his bowling too, considering many grounds in England won’t be suitable for Kedar Jadhav’s style of bowling all the time. A good series against the Aussies will help him settle down and be on the plane for London.

Krunal Pandya

The senior Pandya had a rollercoaster series this time, but he made sure that if he is not performing with the bat, then he delivered with the ball. He brought an infectious energy to the team and was ready to do everything - an attitude that symbolises the current Indian team. His performances also underscored how the IPL has taken the fear factor away from the players, helping them play without any burden on their shoulders. Krunal’s batting in Hamilton also provided the Indian team with another chance to look at their strategy going forward. In a format that is largely becoming a power-game, how to cope with the growing demands of the batsmanship is a concern that India must ask themselves, and with Krunal coming with a refreshing mindset, it can help India big-time. India mostly lacked a power-hitter for the future to assist his brother Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik and in that regard, Krunal can bring his nature to the self, like the way he did yesterday. With the ball in hand, he is an attacking spinner and was always ready to trade a few runs in the anticipation of a wicket. It was typically the attitude India demanded from their spinners in the last one and half years, and Krunal complemented to that beautifully.

Losers

Khaleel Ahmed 

It was this series the Indian selectors got a reality check. They have always talked about giving enough time to players in domestic cricket before fast-tracking themselves to the international level. However, they made an exception in Khaleel Ahmed’s case, majorly because he was a left-arm pacer and had a certain advantage against right-handers. However, looking at his performance in the last two series, it can easily be said that he is not ready yet and needs to play domestic cricket to make himself a polished product. His lengths were off and in the T20 series, while he needed to target with attacking length, he largely resorted to the full ball area. The New Zealanders are pretty good when it comes to slogging and Khaleel failed to realise that which directly went against his India selection. Another factor crucial which worked against Khaleel was Mohammed Shami’s second coming as an ODI bowler, and India will definitely pick him as the third-choice pacer. The left-arm pacer from Rajasthan had a golden opportunity to seize the spot, but he failed to do that and it will be better for him to go through the domestic cricket rigmarole again. 

Rishabh Pant

Pant had impressed all and sundry in the Test series against Australia and could well have made it to the team for the home series against the same opposition had he performed exceeding well in the third T20I. However, he failed to grab that chance and despite having a good start yesterday, he couldn’t make it count. The problem with Pant is not about his technique or temperament, rather his lack of game awareness. Of course, he is a hard-hitter and loves to play with free spirit, but Pant is doing no good to his reputation with his regular act of throwing his wicket away. As MSK Prasad revealed to ESPN Cricinfo, he is still in the contention for the World Cup, but now he has three lesser chances to prove himself that he can do the rescue act as well, which is very important for the side after the things that transpired in the fourth and fifth ODI in Hamilton and Wellington respectively. He is trying to pick the brains of MS Dhoni which is a good thing, but his batting is the calling card now.

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