Reality check for the Men in Blue

How long will you back KL Rahul who, year after year, has failed to deliver in big matches, writes Anis Sajan



Bangladesh's wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (Rright) celebrates after the dismissal of India's KL Rahul during the second One-Day International on Wednesday. — AFP
Bangladesh's wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (Rright) celebrates after the dismissal of India's KL Rahul during the second One-Day International on Wednesday. — AFP

By Anis Sajan

Published: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 7:30 PM

When India came to Bangladesh for the ODI series, most Indian fans were glued to the Fifa World Cup and had taken for granted that this is going to be yet another bilateral series which India will win as they have been doing so year after year.

But it slipped their minds that Bangladesh had beaten a strong India in 2015, led by MS Dhoni, convincingly. Morever, Bangladesh had not lost a series at home since 2016 to any country and India had to be wary of it.

This time around, India had all the big guns with the bat in captain Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and one expected India to get past Bangladesh easily even though the bowling attack did not have the experience of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.

In the first ODI, India, despite the poor batting performance, had Bangladesh on the mat but were the stunned by the 10th wicket stand of 51 by Mehidy Hasan Miraj and Mustafizur Rehman.

One expected India to bounce back in the second ODI but it was again Mehidy who got Bangladesh out of the woods to score his maiden hundred and took them from 69-6 to 271.

And when chasing a decent target, you need temperament but, barring Shreyas Iyer, with some support from Axar Patel, the rest failed and India were outclassed by the witty Shakib Al Hasan and rest of the bowlers, to hand Bangladesh yet another series win over the fancied Indian team.

A T20 match can change through one cameo by one player, but in ODIs, you need solid temperament and this was indeed a reality check for the Men in Blue before the World Cup which is just 10 months away, at home.

Do players like Shikar Dhawan still fit in the team when you have fearless players like Ishan Kishan and Prithvi Shaw waiting in the wings.

And when you have Sanju Samson knocking the door, how long will you back KL Rahul who, year after year, has failed to deliver in big matches.

And is Rohit Sharma the right captain to lead team India whose fitness is in question more often than not?

It's high time the selectors or whoever calls the shots, takes the right decision or else one more World Cup might go begging for team India.

Anis Sajan is the vice-chairman of the Danube Group


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