Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman has asserted that there are still areas that the Indian team needs to work on in limited-overs cricket and feels there's a need for a wicket-taking spinner in middle-overs. He also had high praise for India's gloveman Rishabh Pant, who turned his fortunes around.
India completed a great 2-1 ODI series triumph over England recently. But one of the problem areas that again came to the fore was the lack of wickets from India's spinners. After Yuzvendra Chahal had a poor ODI series in Australia, Kuldeep Yadav was picked ahead of him for the first two ODIs against England.
However, he continued with his poor form. In the third ODI, the team management decided against fielding any specialist spinner which shows their dwindling trust over the wrist-spin duo. VVS Laxman pointed out that both Chahal and Kuldeep haven't been at their best and the team needs to find out wicket-taking spinners with many ICC megaevents lined up.
"More alarming is the steady decline in the quality of spin bowling in the 50-over format, specifically lack of skillsets will be exposed more damningly in this variant. Yuzvendra Chahal seems to have lost the confidence of the team management and Kuldeep Yadav has been out of sorts for a while. With the 50-over World Cup more than two years away, it is imperative that the net is cast far and wide and personnel capable of taking wickets in the middle overs identified and persisted with so that they grow into their roles by the time of the mega event," Laxman wrote in his column for TOI.
With Hardik Pandya only bowling in the third ODI, India missed the sixth bowling option in the first two games. Laxman feels that it is one area that India needs to sort out too. However, he feels despite a few weakness, India did an excellent job to win both the T20I and ODI series against a strong English team.
"There still are a couple of areas of concern, though, pertaining to limited-overs cricket. With three World Cups lined up over the next two and a half years, there is a pressing need to ensure the presence of a sixth bowling option at all times."
"India can also take pride in their conquest of England in both white-ball formats. To tame the world's top-ranked side on flat pitches despite losing seven of eight tosses speaks to the character and resilience of a team that has clearly been massively influenced by the infusion of positivity from head coach Ravi Shastri. A welcome development is flexibility in the batting order and Virat Kohli's sustained willingness to bat out of his comfort zone."
Rishabh Pant who had a phenomenal Test series against England, followed it up with good white-ball performances against England, especially in the ODIs where he made scores of 77 and 78 respectively. The former Indian middle-order batsman termed him the star of the season.
"The undisputed star of the show, across formats, has to be Rishabh Pant. His growing maturity and situational awareness manifested itself each time he batted. Equally significantly, I am amazed at the grand strides he has made as a wicketkeeper, especially on difficult pitches at home against England during the Tests when he was scarcely troubled by appreciable turn and unpredictable bounce," Laxman opined.