The world took note of India’s bench strength during the Brisbane Test in January, where India breached the Australian fortress despite missing many of their leading players. On Tuesday, in the first ODI against England in Pune, the Indian newcomers played a critical role in defeating the world champions.
Playing their first ODI, Krunal Pandya slammed the fastest fifty by a debutant, while Prasidh Krishna went on to register the best-ever bowling figures on debut by an Indian. Even Shardul Thakur picked 3 important wickets to bail India out of a precarious situation.
In the post-match press-conference, Shikhar Dhawan, who top-scored with 98, credited the Indian domestic cricket and the high standards of playing and coaching in IPL for bridging the gap in confidence for the youngsters to the top level.
“All the players coming in are extremely confident. They prove themselves in domestic cricket, and then there’s the IPL, where they share the dressing room and play with and against big players. Performing there builds their confidence, and they carry the same into international cricket."
“Also, the level of coaches in the IPL makes a difference. Overall, the exposure to IPL makes a lot of difference and also, our domestic cricket is very strong. It’s a very good mix, and as a result, all the newcomers are performing well,” said Shikhar Dhawan, the Player-of-the-Match in the first ODI.
With Shreyas Iyer injuring himself, the second ODI could see the ODI debut of Suryakumar Yadav, who is high on confidence with his scintillating form.
Shikhar Dhawan’s prolific ODI form
After warming the benches in the last 4 T20Is, Shikhar Dhawan got an opportunity to play the first ODI and impressed with a 106-ball 98. The 35-year-old Delhi left-hander has been India’s most prolific run-getter in ODIs after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma during his time with the Indian team.
Since 2020, Shikhar Dhawan has scored 337 runs from 7 ODIs at 64.66, striking at 91.7. Only KL Rahul (505 runs, Ave 63.12, SR 109.8) and Virat Kohli (487 runs, Ave 48.7, SR 92.4) have more runs than him during this time-frame.