The T20I series between India and Bangladesh was completely off the charts, it was like entering a concert expecting Imagine Dragons and getting Iron Maiden instead. The series almost resembled a circus and had its own share of clowns and ringmasters, and so we’ve compiled our very own list.
Imagine not playing any cricket for four months and still, by some distance, be the best wicket-keeper batsman in your country? It must be fun being MS Dhoni. After Rishabh Pant’s horror show in the series, you wonder if Dhoni would walk into India’s WT20 squad even if he doesn’t play a single match till the commencement of the tournament. Pant had his chance served on a platter against a Bangladesh team that was there for the taking, but somehow still managed to mess it up to an unimaginable extent. As I write this, MSK Prasad is also on the lookout for a time machine to go back and erase his “We’re moving on from Dhoni” comment.
Much like Dhoni, Bhuvi can also chill till the WT20 and still find a place in the squad, as Khaleel has been doing his best to ensure that. I’m not denying the fact that Khaleel played a part in the series win, I’m just saying that his contribution in India winning the series was same as John Terry’s in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph against Bayern in 2012. There has always been chatter about how Deepak Chahar and Bhuvi are too similar to each other and how Khaleel, due to his variety, adds an extra dimension to the attack, but at this point in time, I’m guessing Virat Kohli would rather have Bhuvi bowling left-handed.
Let’s be honest, heading into the series, we all were expecting India to whack Bangladesh 3-0 in three one-sided contests. The atmosphere within the team, heading into the series, was more toxic than the air in Delhi but somehow, they pulled their strings together and gave India a run for their money. Their biggest achievement of the series is perhaps making all the keyboard warriors who were ready to troll them with the cliched ‘Nagin Dance’ memes to instead post a ‘Bangladesh won our hearts’ status. But on a serious note, from Naim’s flamboyance with the bat to Biplop’s courage with the ball to Mahmudullah’s calmness on the field, there were plenty of positives for the Tigers to take home from this series. They badly needed this and contrary to popular belief, there might just be light at the end of the tunnel for them post Shakib’s ban.
Krunal Pandya broke into the Indian team through his consistent clutch performances in the IPL, but in this series, he looked like a prototype of Ravindra Jadeja who didn’t know how to bat, bowl or field. His stubbornness to keep bowling rockets, failing to learn from both Chahal and Biplop, resulted in him finishing the series wicketless. With the bat, he was outshone by Washington Sundar and on the field, his drop of Rahim gifted Bangladesh the first T20I. All in all, like Khaleel, Krunal made a great case for the selectors to not pick him for the future and made the life of Sundar, Jadeja and maybe even Kuldeep Yadav a bit more easier.
Spare a thought for Sanju Samson, who, prior to the series, would probably have dreamt of scoring a fifty and maybe even visualized how he was going to celebrate when he got there. But instead, all he could do was warm the bench for three matches in a row, despite Pant doing his best Kamran Akmal impression (with the gloves, that is). But more than that, what should probably worry him more is the fact that even when the team decided to play an extra batsman, they opted for Manish Pandey over him. A proper reality check for Sanju, who now has no option but to go back to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and keep scoring runs there. Take note, kids; scoring a double-century in Vijay Hazare Trophy is not enough to guarantee you a spot in the Indian team.
Watching team India field in this series was like watching the Indian team of early 2000s: dropped catches, overthrows, missed run-outs, misfields and constant miscommunication. Kohli might be on vacation but you can bet that he would have fumed seeing India’s dismal performance on the field in this series, which was as bad a series as I can remember in the entirety of this decade. But along with Kohli, it looks like fielding coach R Sridhar, who was handed an extension by the board, is also having a vacation of his own, the only difference being him still working with the team. India’s 1/10 performance on the field was summarized by Pant’s botched stumping in the second T20I, which was atrocious, to say the least. Wonder what must be going on in Sanjay Bangar’s head right now.