Finally, the much-awaited final game of the bilateral ODI series between India and Zimbabwe rolled around yesterday, and provided about as much excitement as watching re-runs of YRF’s tear-jerkers. The result was also on expected lines – a win for the Men in Blue.
Here are the quick flicks for the game:
All-too familiar collapse
The Zimbabwe top order really hasn’t fired much after the first two games. Captain Brendan Taylor promoted himself to No. 3 and made another duck, while Vusi Sibanda was nowhere near his fluent best. Hamilton Masakadza, opening in place of the dropped Sikander Raza, seemed to be in a tearing hurry.
The brittle middle-order, taking its cue from the top, also rolled over without offering too much resistance. Spare a thought for poor Sean Williams – the only one to exhibit basic cricketing sense. Zimbabwe needs an overhaul, a big one at that.
No Rasool in the line-up
One would have hoped J&K off-spinner Parvez Rasool might finally get a game on this rather boring tour. However, the think-tank brought in Ajinkya Rahane instead, denying the 25-year old lad a chance to represent his country.
Rasool is a fine bowler and a handy batsman down the order, as evidenced by his first-class performances for his domestic side. India certainly missed a trick or two by not resting Suresh Raina and giving him time off to work on his game before the tough SA tour. These are cricketers, not tourists, BCCI.
Seam is a fine option
Barring Vinay Kumar, all the seamers who have played in this series have been quite impressive. While Shami Ahmed has delighted the spectators with his pace, left-arm bowler Jaydev Unadkat has been fairly accurate.
Haryana lad Mohit Sharma made a memorable debut in the fourth game, and has displayed excellent control over his speed, line and length. Along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and a fit Ishant Sharma, these three are excellent options for India in the 50-over format. Good signs ahead!
Pujara flops again
Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled by Kyle Jarvis for a four-ball duck in the final game. Something in his technique or footwork seems to have gone wrong. Both of his dismissals in the series were nearly identical, so perhaps there is still a bit of rust that has crept into the Saurashtra run-machine’s batting.
A couple of practice games ahead of the South African safari should help to iron out the flaws, since Pujara is indeed a fine long-term prospect for the side.
The Zimbabwe tour gave India a chance to experiment with their bench, the focus being the 2015 World Cup. However, it wasn’t exactly a completely fruitful exercise. The Rasool conundrum has to be resolved by an embattled Board soon, otherwise yet another promising talent will become a casualty of the Great Indian Cricketing Circus.
Till then, the young Indian side should savour the clean sweep.