India rebrand their ODI outlook to crush England

back icon
18 Jul 2022 | 09:40 AM
authorAakash Sivasubramaniam

India rebrand their ODI outlook to crush England

India’s 2-1 win over England signals an era in new direction

"For us, the aim is to understand white-ball cricket, how to play, new guys are playing. 50 over is an extension of T20. Maybe you take less risk in ODIs as compared to T20 cricket but you have to take it,” said Indian skipper Rohit Sharma at the start of the three-match ODI series. 

It was with that mindset that the Indian team went into the three-match ODI series, in their preparations for the ICC ODI World Cup. Where have India improved and where have India lacked during the series? 

India finally start strong in powerplay

India’s bowling problems with the new ball was a well-documented reality. Prior to Rahul Dravid taking over the coaching role, India had only picked up 20 wickets in the powerplay, averaging a high 80, the worst-record amongst the top-ten sides in the 50-over format since the 2019 World Cup. Even the likes of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar amidst others could not pick up early wickets for India. 

That was perhaps a key area that needed immediate change for India’s fortunes. Since November 2021, India have the best average with the new ball, at 23.6, picking up 18 wickets, the most for any sides in the time period. To add to that, the Indian bowlers also have the best strike-rate in the powerplay, at 30. 

Leading India’s charge have been Mohammed Siraj and Bumrah, who have picked up nine wickets in between them. In the 2-1 series win over England, India’s new-ball bowling was perhaps the biggest differentiator between the two sides. With the new ball, India averaged just 15.8, picking up nine wickets in comparison to England’s five. 

Slowly yet steadily, India are tackling one of their biggest hurdles in ODI cricket – new-ball wickets. 

Pandya’s all-round show puts India in strong place

India have for long years, yearned for Hardik Pandya to regain full health and play cricket at his optimal level, both with the bat and the ball. The England series has come at the right time and right place for both Hardik and the national team. Rohit Sharma has been precise with his use of Hardik in the bowling department, as a pace-enforcer. 

Even in the T20I series, it was a recurrent theme of how Hardik was using the bounce on the surface to its fullest use. That theme extended to the ODI series, where he was consistently using the bouncer as a lethal weapon. All four of his wickets in the final ODI came via deliveries that were pitched the furthest away from the batters. 

"I had to bend my back a bit. I had to change my plans, realised that this was not the wicket to go full, and go for the short ball, use it as a wicket-taking delivery. I fancy my bouncers. In ODIs, you have to take on the short ball and that gives a chance to take wickets,” said Hardik.

It didn’t stop there for the younger Pandya, who put on a show with the bat. The right-hander put on a 133-run partnership with Rishabh Pant, where he played the aggressive hand, scoring 71 runs off just 55 balls. This series has shown why India were and continue to be a formidable side when Hardik is around. 

Struggling top-three with the bat

It is not often that we can say that India’s top three have struggled in a series. But the England series was really one where the top-order put a whole lot of pressure on the middle-order to score the runs. India’s top-three in this series only averaged 27.8, and struck at 77.7, which highlights part of the problem. However, the bigger problem has been their inability to convert starts, which has been a recurring theme in the last two years. 

Virat Kohli’s struggle has been well-documented. Throwing light on that will be as inconsequential, given how the whole country is talking about it. While Kohli averages 45.6 chasing totals, his inability to convert the start into a three-figure score has often been a worrying sign for India. Now combine that struggle with Shikhar Dhawan’s. Dhawan’s last ODI century was in June 2019, and while since then, the left-hander has scores of 98 and 86*, a big score has been missing. 

Especially with Rohit donning the aggressor role in the top three, with a strike-rate of 96, it is important for either of Dhawan or Kohli to take up the role of accumulating big scores. Despite the middle-order saving them in the third ODI, it is up to the top-order to regain the lost touch. 

A free-flowing batting approach in middle-phase

The middle-order Troika of Hardik, Rishabh and Suryakumar Yadav are slowly changing and shaping the way India bat in the middle-overs. While the approach is inherently risky, it is perhaps the biggest differentiator when it comes to the result. In just two innings that they played, the Indian middle-order scored 304 runs, averaging 50.7 for every wicket, while striking at 91.3. In comparison, England’s middle-order only struck at 80.7 and averaged just 24.8. 

As pointed out here by Shubh, Pant is an integral part of the change in approach for the Indian team in the middle-order. The left-hander scored only 10 runs off his first 20 balls, all through singles. It is the first time that Pant didn’t score a single boundary off the first 20 balls of his innings. 

After 60 balls in his innings, he had only four boundaries for 42 runs. The strike-rate of 70 at this point is not a problem. Hardik Pandya’s calculated aggression in a fifth-wicket stand of 133 runs from 115 balls ensured the required rate was always in check. Hence, Pant played the second fiddle, the idea of which appeared improbable for a long time but now, it speaks for his ability to adapt.

So, this ability to adapt, knowing when to attack and when to play the second-fiddle that will definitely benefit India.

shareGray Share
England vs IndiaWest Indies vs IndiaIndia tour of England, 2022India tour of West Indies, 2022IndiaRohit SharmaHardik PandyaVirat KohliRishabh PantMohammed SirajMohammad ShamiJasprit BumrahShikhar Dhawan

Related Articles

The different faces of Hardik Pandya
Two months ago, there were question marks over Hardik Pandya’s abilities
userAakash Sivasubramaniam
31 May 2022
Intriguing questions await India in the Windies T20I test
India are set to play their second T20I series under Rohit Sharma’s leadership
userAakash Sivasubramaniam
14 Feb 2022
Prasidh Krishna headlines in India's experiment-filled win
Suryakumar Yadav finished as top-scorer with 64 runs as Prasidh Krishna rattled Windies with 4/12
userAakash Sivasubramaniam
09 Feb 2022
High time India fix their No. 4 and 5 in ODIs
Here, we look at all the ideal options India have for these two spots
userHardik Worah
01 Feb 2022
Late lower-order surge in vain as India suffer 1st white-wash against SA after de Kock heroics
Here are a few noteworthy stats from the third ODI between South Africa and India at Newlands, Cape Town
userAnirudh Kasargod
23 Jan 2022
India start Rohit-era with old and similar spookiness
While it might have been against a weakened Kiwi side, it shows the same old concern for India
userAakash Sivasubramaniam
17 Nov 2021
India have a bowling headache and it is not Hardik Pandya
If fit, Hardik will be India’s sixth bowling option. The onus of taking wickets lies somewhere else
userSomesh Agarwal
30 Oct 2021
Decoded: Players under scanner in India's T20 World Cup squad
Looking at the current form, there are four players the management will have second thoughts about staff
09 Oct 2021
India's next generation set for T20 World Cup audition
While Sri Lanka are still looking for some players to fit in their T20I set-up, India have a problem of plenty
userHardik Worah
24 Jul 2021
Embracing experiments, India tick the right boxes
With fresh faces and an altered approach, India were able to outline a template that can earn them the favourites tag for the World Cup
userSomesh Agarwal
20 Mar 2021
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
@ 2020 | All rights reserved