India vs Sri Lanka 2017: 5 positives for India from the T20I series

India v Sri Lanka - ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 Final
Dhoni has been a key figure behind the stumps
Shivam Tiwari

The Indian team selected to go for the jugular against Sri Lanka had a lot of unexpected names in it. A couple of experienced names were asked to rest and in place of them, came the youngsters who have been waiting for their 'one chance' to arrive. The team looked strong enough to rally past the Sri Lankans, albeit being short of experience.

India, expectedly, thumped Sri Lanka in the three T20Is without having to burn the candle at both ends. The rejuvenated young brigade looked like men on a mission from the word go. With almost what we call a perfect performance, Indian youngsters have done enough to stake their claim for a place in the squad for the upcoming overseas tours of 2018.

While the wrist-spinners, as always, were at their finest-best, the pacers were not much behind. Only a fool would question the know-how of any Indian batting line-up. The way the team has performed in the last twelve months or so, reckoning with them for the upcoming series wouldn't be backing the wrong horse.

We look down at the five most notable points from the T20 series.

#5 No one is better than Dhoni behind the stumps

No matter how much criticism he has to come across, Dhoni continues to enjoy the support of his fans, the selectors, and the team. "I think MS Dhoni still remains the No 1 wicket-keeper in the world and day in and day out we have been saying this." MSK Prasad's statement about Dhoni didn't surprise anyone.

But the question is, has Dhoni been delivering? If we look at the numbers then, with the bat, he was at his supreme best. In the first T20, he scored a blitzkrieg 22-ball unbeaten 39 runs to ensure India post a total that could cut Sri Lankan batting lineup's throat. In the second and the third game very little was required from his Spartan blades.

Dhoni was as good as he has ever been behind the stumps and his stumping of Asela Gunaratne in the second game was an example of how fast he can be with his keeping gloves. No wonder why Ravi Shastri thinks that a 36-year-old Dhoni can beat the 26-year-old players.

#4 The two wrist spinners are second to none

Yuzvendra Chahal is the highest wicket-taker in T20I's this year.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year

Wrist spinners in today's game have proved to be a boon for any captain. A lot of wrist spinners have been phenomenal throughout the year like Adil Rashid, Imran Tahir, and Rashid Khan. India have, in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, two world-class wrist spinners.

Both Kuldeep and Chahal have been instrumental in India's winning run this year. Chahal is the highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year, and Kuldeep Yadav is not far behind. In the second T20 game, when it looked like Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga would get Lanka close to the target, it was this duo's adroit bowling skills combined with Dhoni's magic with his gloves that did the trick for India.

The two combinedly accounted for 14 Sri Lankan wickets in the series. Yuzvendra Chahal didn't play the third game though.

#3 The rise of Jaydev Unadkat

Jaydev Unadkat was the Man of the Series.
Jaydev Unadkat was the Man of the Series

Jaydev Unadkat, in 2013, was touted to do big things for Indian Cricket Team at the international stage. But somehow he went out of the limelight as well as the team. When brought in back for the recently concluded series, Jaydev knew it was the make or break situation for him.

Someone who would not have watched the game would not know how good the Porbandar-born lad had been throughout the series. The figures of 9-0-44-4 are very good indeed, yet doesn't match his on-field performance. The variations that he brought in his length and pace never let the Lankans settle down let alone score.

Jaydev had the lowest economy rate among all the bowlers from the two sides. At times Unadkat was simply unplayable. He will add more steel in an already revamped Indian bowling unit.

#2 Ro-hit Sharma - the best opener?

Bangladesh v India - ICC Champions Trophy Semi Final
Rohit Sharma had a phenomenal year in limited overs games

Rohit Sharma had an unforgettable 2017. He has been so good in the last twelve months that Sandeep Patil couldn't resist himself from calling Rohit a better batsman than Virat Kohli this year.

The series was the first test of Rohit's captaincy skills, and he did exceptionally well in it. But what he excelled in was in his usual job of opening the innings. Rohit Sharma, on his own, won India the second tie of the series by scoring the fastest international T20I century. It was very similar to the innings he played in Mohali in the second ODI. Both the innings completely outmuscled the Sri Lankan team from the game.

Rohit, when on song, is the most destructive batsmen one would ever face. His tally of 65 international sixes in 2017, which happens to be the highest in a calendar year, is what justifies the aforesaid statement.

#! KL Rahul to partner Rohit at the top in T20Is?

KL Rahul scored two half-centuries in three games.
KL Rahul scored two half-centuries in three games

A lot of big names were rested for the series and hence the team looked like a depleted side. However, KL Rahul rose to the occasion and performed consistently in the three games. Two fifties in three innings at the top speaks volumes about the talent of the 25-year-old batsman.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore player, who currently acts as the second fiddle to the Delhi-born southpaw Shikhar Dhawan, is too good to be kept out of the playing eleven. Rahul averages 50.88 in T20 internationals, more than twice of what Shikhar averages. Also, Rahul has scored the same number of half-centuries as that of Shikhar in 17 fewer innings.

Shikhar is, undoubtedly, a great batsman but it would be a sin to keep Rahul out of the team for the southpaw.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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