The remainder of the NatWest one-day series against England is an ideal chance for India to blood emerging youngsters into their side and grasp a knowledge of what the future holds.
Injuries have swept through the tourists camp throughout the unsuccessful tour to England, with the likes of star batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag both sidelined, as well as reliable strike bowler Zaheer Khan and influential front-line spinner Harbhajan Singh.
To make matters for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side, who trail 1-0 in the five-match series, one-day specialists Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh are both occupying the sidelines with finger injuries sustained after the England attack pinpointed their shot ball weaknesses.
Ishant Sharma, the paceman that showed signs of brilliance during the Tests, and fellow seamer Sreesanth are both out leaving the burden of responsibility in the bowling ranks to the Kumars. Vinay and Praveen both took the new ball at the Emirates Durham ICG and the Rose Bowl, with Munaf Patel the first change for Dhoni’s struggling side.
It’s the batting, that was shattered on a regular basis by England’s bowlers during the whitewashed Test series, which has finally improved and they are finally finding a way to record competitive scores.
The first Test, after reducing the hosts to 27-2, looked to be heading in their direction before rain ensured they are still looking for their first international victory on this tour, while the rain-affected match in Southampton, which was reduced to 23 overs per side, saw them post over 180 and, to their credit, England had to use the final over to chase it down. That result summed up their limited-overs tour to date.
A weakened attack lacking a cutting edge to hurt England’s top-order.
However, their batting looks much improved, with experienced players and a host of youthful, exciting youngsters coming through the ranks, emerging behind the shadows of Tendulkar and Sehwag and so, looking to make an impression in international cricket. It is refreshing to see for an India side so renowned for their high-class batsman.
An new opening partnership has refreshed the order with Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane taking the attack to England’s new ball bowlers. The pair play with no fear and know how to attack the powerplays. Rahane, who hit a half-century on his debut in the T20 match, has followed that up with another fifty and a 40 to underline his potential, while Parthiv has looked impressive, hitting an impressive 96 in the first ODI.
Virat Kohli, coming in at number four after the reliable Rahul Dravid, looks a top-class performer with the ability to hit boundaries as well as find the gaps in the field and is bound to feel at home in the side once he cements a place in the Test match arena.
Although, Suresh Raina struggled in the Test environment, he has excelled against the white ball and looks to clear the ropes at every opportunity in the latter overs of a match to give Dhoni, himself, a platform to build on later on.
Those looking at free bets note how Manoj Tiwary has been called-up and reinforces the bating line-up which shows India have plenty of options and enough players in min to keep the series alive with victory at the Oval.
Although India are not finding this tour easy, they will benefit from the experience, finding an array of new talent in the process, which will help them in developing a new generation of batsmen that we can place a free bet on in the future.