Result: With one match to go, India are 3-0 up in this one-sided series
As bad as India are as an overseas test team, England are equally bad if not worse as a modern limited overs ODI team. They still haven’t figured out how to execute their ancient plans, and have lost 5 out of their last 6 bilateral series. They reached the Champions Trophy final at home in 2013 to lose to India, but after that, it’s been one pathetic capitulation after another. Asian teams have come to England and thrashed them too.
To put things into perspective, James Anderson—one of the two top test bowlers of world cricket—is wicketless in 23 overs after 3 matches in the ODI series. Moreover, he has given away 123 runs. Tredwell, their only spinner, who made way for Moeen Ali in the fourth game, has taken 3 wickets in the 2 matches he played. Even Raina has taken 3 wickets, and Rayadu—the part timer—has taken the wicket of Cook. To make matter worse for England, allegedly their best ODI batsman Eoin Morgan has struggled and made to look like a minnow by Jadeja and Ashwin. Their only bright spot has been Moeen Ali, who played the one match to show how foolish the selectors have been to have ignored him in this format.
So, India have had a perfect ODI series after one of their worst ever test performances. Dhoni’s mojo is back, and hopefully, his fans won’t forget that he is still clueless in the longer format. Nevertheless, nobody would bet against India winning 4-0, and therefore, here are the players who have made it happen:
Shikhar Dhawan (6/10)
Still not entirely convinced by his credentials, but his aggressive 97 while chasing an easy target in the fourth ODI will do Dhoni and his doubters a world of confidence.
Ajinkya Rahane (8/10)
The biggest culprit of the test series—simply because he flattered to deceive after the brilliant Lords century—has become only the second Indian to score a century in both formats in England on the same tour after Tendulkar. His silken century was his first in ODIs while chasing a paltry 207, and he has pretty much demoted an injured Rohit Sharma down to 4, considering his freeflowing play and ability to get easy starts.
Virat Kohli (4/10)
Has only a 40 to show in the third ODI after a duck, and didn’t have much to do otherwise. He has been aggressive on the field though.
Ambati Rayadu (7/10)
Grabbed his opportunity after Rohit’s injury and played a superb hand in the 3rd ODI to take India home while chasing a tricky target.
Suresh Raina (9/10)
He has been India’s most impressive fielder—a livewire and the injection of energy they needed—and a very handy bowler as well. His batting set the tone for the series in the second ODI, after which India have been unstoppable. He is always the first to run to the bowler to celebrate a wicket too.
MS Dhoni (7/10)
Back in his comfort zone against a weak team, running rings around them with his captaincy. It’s all working for him, but the nightmare of the test series cannot be forgotten.
R. Jadeja (7/10)
Has been his usual darty self with the ball, and is India’s highest wicket taker so far. He has been accurate in ODIs, and has complimented the guile of Ashwin well. Remains India’s first-choice ODI spinner. His economy rate is less than 4—an excellent return from the disastrous test series.
R. Ashwin (7/10)
Hasn’t been as effective as Jadeja, but has played a crucial role in the middle over—not afraid to loop the ball and go for runs.
B. Kumar (7/10)
Many will remember his spell against England in the fourth ODI at Birmingham, where he took 2 wickets and gave less than a run an over in his first spell of 6 overs. He has India’s most economical bowler and has chipped in with important wickets.
M. Shami (7/10)
6 wickets in 3 games is encouraging from India’s talented quickie, and he needs to find his feet in overseas conditions quickly to get ready for the World Cup. His Birmingham performance was the best in months.
M. Sharma (4/10)
Hasn’t had much to do in 2 matches, and has failed to take wickets in his 9 overs.
Rohit Sharma (6/10)
Did well in the only ODI he played in for his half-century while rebuilding the innings with a smoother Rahane. Will probably come back at no. 4 later in the year.
Duncan Fletcher (5/10)
Ravi Shastri (10/10)