New Delhi: England may have beaten India ‘A’ by 3 wickets in the first warm-up match but the Indian camp would not be complaining about the outing at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday. Infact the warm-up match perhaps answered a lot of questions which the Indian think tank was searching for quite some time.
Back to old days
Right from the banners to the discussions to the countless heads assembled, there was only one thing written all over the Brabourne Stadium—Dhoni. And why not, it was the last occasion where an Indian side was playing under their most successful captain. Keeping true to his nature, the wicket-keeper batsman lived up to all the expectations with a superlative knock. But before Dhoni, there was another man who stole the show while making a comeback to the Indian limited overs scheme after three years – Yuvraj Singh.
It was a cricket fan’s delight when Yurvaj Singh and MS Dhoni turned the clock backwards with their seamless strokeplay. India’s middle order, which appeared pale and thin with the inexperienced lot of Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav just found the reliability of an old warhorse in the form of Yuvraj Singh.
Yuvraj started off with two beautiful straight sixes off Moeen Ali and then drove Jake Ball passed mid on to announce his return to one day mode. In his knock of 56, Yuvraj hit six boundaries along with two towering sixes and the most important part, he looked assured. When Dhoni joined him the duo showcased some breathtaking shots, even though it was for a brief period as Yuvraj was hold out in the deep off Jake Ball. Then it was the Dhoni show. The swashbuckling right-hander gave a glimpse of what may follow in the ODI series by taking 23 runs off the last over of the India ‘A’ innings and ended up with an un beaten 68 off just 40 balls.
Gabbar is back
Shikhar Dhawan, who was making a comeback into the Indian side after an injury lay off, which forced him to stay out of action for the entire England Test series, played an assuring knock of 63. The Delhi opener did a fine job of seeing off the new ball and later on displayed a range of strokes on his way to a well paced half-century. With Rohit Sharma still to gain full fitness and Ajinkya Rahane out of touch, there were doubts about India’s opening combination. But Shikhar erased all of that with his front foot cover drives.
If Tuesday’s warm –up match was about making an impression then no one did it better than the young left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. Yadav fought a lone battle for India with the ball returning with figures of 5 for 60 when all other were taken to the cleaners by Sam Billings and Jason Roy. The impressive youngster, who did not find a place in either of the limited overs sides sent a strong signal to the selectors that he is ready for the big challenge.
If Kuldeep gave headaches to the selectors with the ball then it was Rayudu who did the same with the bat. The right hander, who was a regular member of the Indian ODI squad till the Zimbabwe tour, suddenly finds himself out of the side. He seemed a man on a mission when he scored a free flowing century, the only of the match.
Overall, Tuesday’s practice match was more about the positives than the result which went it England’s favour.