The last two days have been very happening in Indian cricket. But, all the action has been off the field pertaining to the Greg Chappell controversy. Also, all those involved in the issue are senior players who have quit the game now. As such, the current Indian squad should not be ideally affected by the controversy. However, considering the amount of media coverage the topic is getting, the players might just get a bit distracted. The current squad would do well to concentrate on its on-field play, and look to continue from where they left off at Cuttack.
The Indians had plenty to gain from their impressive triumph in the first one-dayer and should look to build on the same. India's opening combination batted brilliantly at Cuttack. Shikhar Dhawan hasn't had an assured time in the middle of late. In that sense, his hundred in the first ODI was crucial. Dhawan will still be judged on how he performs away from home. But, the knock will still give him confidence to prepare better for the forthcoming challenges. As for Ajinkya Rahane, he is only going from strength to strength with each game. He has proved his credentials in Tests, and is now doing the same in one-dayers as well.
Suresh Raina also came up with a sparkling half-century to celebrate his 200th ODI. Raina has looked a completely different player ever since that hundred in England, and looks more assured than ever. For now, he has put rest to murmurs of his place in the side. With his ability to turn his arm around and his exceptional fielding ability, he can do the task of a batting all-rounder Yuvraj performed so well for over a decade. With current skipper Virat Kohli also hitting form, the Indian batting seems in excellent shape for now. India would only hope that these players take the runs when they head abroad as well.
The spot of Ambati Rayudu is possibly the only cause of concern, and that too for no fault of his. He has been constantly shunted up and down the batting order. When Kohli was struggling, Rayudu was pushed to number three, and when India have needed quick runs, he has been demoted. With India getting a massive opening partnership at Cuttack, Rayudu was once again held back. He did play a breezy cameo, but sacrificed his wicket going for the big shots. Rayudu has done what the team has needed off him. It is important thus that the selectors give him a fair run, and do not look at his numbers, which will be completely misleading.
If there is one area where India are struggling badly, it is in the fitness department. Rohit Sharma has only just returned to cricket following a lay off. The overworked Mohammed Shami got injured before the series began, and fast bowler Varun Aaron has now joined the list. Thankfully for India, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav delivered at Cuttack, as a result of which their bowling was competitive. Still, they have plenty of work to do as far as the bowling department is concerned. Akshar Patel has impressed in his short stint, but these are still early days. India need to work harder on developing their bowling resources.
--By A Cricket Analyst