Team India were back to winning ways after the defeat in the initial game against Sri Lanka. With 3 back to back wins, India booked its place in the finals and beat Bangladesh to win the Nidahas Trophy, courtesy a match winning innings by Dinesh Karthik.
With the likes of Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and M.S. Dhoni being rested for the series, the bench strength was tested and some of the players grabbed the opportunities with both hands, whereas a few players disappointed.
Here is a look at 5 such instances which have been the talking points for team India's performance this Nidahas Trophy:
#5 The absence of Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda was expected to feature in the playing 11 considering that many senior players were rested. However, the all-rounder from Baroda did not feature in a single match in the Nidahas Trophy.
Hooda had a phenomenal 2016-2017 season in domestic cricket and was picked up in the national team on the back of impressive performances. In 15 T20 matches at the domestic level, he averaged 38.38 with 1 century and 3 half centuries. In 21 List A matches during the period, he averaged 45.83 and in 24 First Class matches during the said period, the average shot up to 58.57.
Considering his consistent performances in domestic circuit and his ability to pick up wickets too with his off breaks, Team India should have tested him in sub-continent conditions. With the 2020 T20 World Cup to be played in Australia, the 22- year old Hooda would be an ideal player who could play the role of a finisher and play aggressive innings which would change the course of a T20 game in a quick span of time.
#4 The emergence of Vijay Shankar as a 5th bowling option
The absence of Hardik Panya was a perfect opportunity for Vijay Shankar to showcase his skills at the international level. The 27-year-old all-rounder from Tamil Nadu impressed one and all with his bowling skills this Nidahas Trophy.
Shankar bowled in the middle overs and controlled the flow of runs as well as picked up vital wickets at crucial moments in the game. He was the Man of the Match in the second game against Bangladesh when he picked up 2 wickets for 32 runs.
In 4 matches in the group stages in the Nidahas Trophy, he has picked up 3 wickets at an average of 35 and an economy of 8.07 which was impressive considering the high scoring matches. However he leaked runs in the finals against Bangladesh when he conceded 48 runs in his 4 overs. Shankar is young at the international level and will only improve with time.
He struggled with the bat in the finals which was his first international innings and he scored 17 runs in 19 balls.
However, he has had an impressive start to his international career with the ball and would be hoping to represent India in all formats in the near future.
#3 Inconsistent fast bowlers
The performance of fast bowlers has been far from impressive this series. With the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah rested, the series was an ideal opportunity for Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj to establish themselves as the third bowling option in the Indian T20 team.
However apart from Thakur who has impressed in patches, Unadkat and Siraj disappointed. Thakur picked up 4 wickets in the third match against Sri Lanka but was indifferent in the first game against them. Thakur was taken to the cleaners in his first over in a couple of matches, but he has made a strong case for himself as a death overs bowler and picked up 6 wickets in the Nidahas Trophy. He was inconsistent in the finals and conceded 45 runs in 4 overs.
Jaydev Unadkat was expected to lead the pace attack this series. However he was dropped after the first three games due to his indifferent form. The left-handed seamer picked up 2 wickets and gave away 33 runs in the finals and picked up 7 wickets in the Nidahas Trophy. Like Thakur, Unadkat impressed in patches and would require a consistent performance to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Indian T20 team.
Siraj has had a tough start to his international career till date. In 3 T20 internationals, he has picked up 3 wickets but his economy of 12.33 and average of 49.33 is a cause of concern for the team management. His only game in the tournament was against Bangladesh when he leaked runs in his 4 overs conceding 50 runs and picking up a solitary wicket.
#2 Dropping of Rishabh Pant
It was really disappointing to see Rishabh Pant being left out of the playing 11 after the first couple of matches in the Nidahas Trophy. The 20-year-old scored 23 against Sri Lanka and 7 against Bangladesh before being left out of the playing 11 in the remaining matches.
The wicket-keeper batsman requires the backing of the team management and considering that the seniors were rested, he should have been given a consistent run in the playing 11. The 20 year old should be groomed for the T20 World Cup in 2020 in Australia as his aggression at the top of the order is the requirement of the shortest form of the game.
#1 The unsung hero- Washington Sundar
The biggest positive for team India in the Nidahas Trophywas the emergence of Washington Sundar. The 18-year-old off spinner was exceptional in the power play overs by controlling the runs and also picking up vital wickets. In 13 power play overs in the Nidahas Trophy, Sudar picked up 6 wickets and conceded 77 runs at an economy of 5.92 which is really impressive for any bowler, never mind a spinner.
Sundar was not afraid to flight the ball and was named as the player of the series. His figures of 3-22 and 0-23 against Bangladesh and 2-28 and 2-21 against Sri Lanka in the group stages of the Nidahas Trophy reflect his contribution to the team's success. Sundar had figures of 1-20 in the finals in 4 overs and was an asset for team India.
Sundar has an economy of 5.67 and average of 15.11 in 6 T20 internationals till date and is definitely the man for the future for Team India in the T 20 format.